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By Brakhage: An Anthology (Criterion Collection) (Disc 1 of 2) back to product details

P.T. Brakhage
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written by scottcavazos80 October 12, 2006 - 7:19 AM PDT
3 out of 4 members found this review helpful
Brakhage is an engrossing and hypnotizing filmaker when you read about him and listen to his commentary. Assuming you are gifted with the faculty of sight, seeing the films ruins all of the verbage and merely illustrates that his experiments with film don't really work. He gives art a bad name. Kenneth Anger puts the pwn on Brakhage. Peace!

Love him or hate him, gotta watch him
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written by DPenn August 13, 2003 - 12:22 PM PDT
15 out of 15 members found this review helpful
It's non-narrative film, so let's just examine what's here.

Disk 1 includes interviews with Brakhage, plus audio remarks regarding each film. These are definitely helpful considering the material. I remember watching a Brakhage film in college that consisted of time-lapse footage of a dog decaying in the woods, and didn't feel much about it until the instructor told us the dog had been his pet. Maybe I'm just a namby-pamby, but the work then carried more emotional weight for me.

Up first in the anthology is DesistFilm, an early (his first?) piece that illustrates Brakhage's obsession with our physical selves. Friends in an isolated room first pursue whatever diversions, then play with/examine their bodies until one of the guys and the only woman pair off. B/W with audio.

WedLock House is a beautiful and eerie exploration of a new marriage. You don't get to use the word eerie too often, but this qualifies, with swinging lights in an otherwise darkened home illuminating the interactions of the couple (B and his wife). B/W, silent.

Dog Star Man is a five-parter that doesn't lend itself to viewing in one sitting, but I became entranced with this the other night and sat still for more than an hour of solar flares, bawling babies and shots of the director climbing a mountain with an axe. Color, silent.

Brakhage brings us into the autopsy room with The Act of Seeing With One's Own Eyes. Thirty minutes of dissection and evisceration isn't for everyone, but then neither is this DVD. Maybe that should have been my review title. Color, silent.

What these capsules don't express is how assuredly Brakhage's camera captures both beauty and horror. He supposedly hated the word abstract, but there are few other words that describe his painted-on frames and close-ups of a cadaver's parted flesh. Brakhage truly is concerned with how we see and how that makes us feel. In an interview, he wonders how many colors a child can distinguish in a field of grass, as opposed to an adult indoctrinated with the idea of green. I'm babbling. Give it a try; then rent Stallone's Over The Top for comparison.


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(Average 7.12)
128 Votes
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