Sunday, 3 November 2013

Dog Star Man

Dog Star Man – Prelude – Stan Brackhage – perhaps one of the most famous avant-garde American filmmakers, alongside Kenneth Anger and Maya Deren, Brakhage pioneered a visceral and disjunctive visual experimentation, using rapid, syncopated frames – fast cutting with kaleidoscopic rhythms, a sense of collage and abstract disorientation. Flashes of colour, some with their origin in physical marks on the celluloid (Brakhage would often paint directly on to the film), others melting and blurring, strobing or bleeding with almost recognisable images – a glimpse of flesh, of hair, or of windows, a snatched instance of landscape, a passing moment… At times it seems like a chaotic display of synapses, at other times, a beautifully disjointed life dreamt and recalled in the moment before death. It is completely silent, foregrounding visuals as the chosen or ‘purified’ (to draw on the avant garde tradition of formal innovation) medium. An amazing and inspiringly immersive film (it is in parts: Prelude, I,II,III,IV) – I’ve only seen it through once…and did so while listening to trippy music…as this definitely enhances the viewing…something electronic or ambient usually works beautifully…and then you can have multiple viewings with variant soundtracks! And thus I reveal a shameful insight into the thrill-seeking nature of my recreational pastimes.  

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