Adapted from classroom lectures, Brakhage's profiles of eight avant-garde filmmakers have a conversational, relaxed flow. If the tone is chummy and the frequent superlatives annoying, the narratives are nevertheless coherent. Among those we meet are Maya Deren, Voodoun priestess of Greenwich Village and well-known personality of the 1940s and '50s; Christopher MacLaine, chronicler of San Francisco's Beat movement; and Ken Jacobs, whose films include Soft Rain , Blonde Cobra , and Little Stabs at Happiness . Himself a filmmaker, critic ( Brakhage Scrapbook , etc.) and professor of film studies at the University of Colorado, Brakhage has been friends with all eight subjects. His personal insight into their lives deepens his understanding of their aims and techniques. Also here are Jerome Hill, Marie Menken, James Broughton, Bruce Conner and Sidney Peterson.