Essential Brakhage: Selected Writings on Film-Making

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Two important but long unavailable books by experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage Metaphors on Vision and Brakhage Scrapbook are restored to print in this welcome reissue.Two important but long unavailable books by experimental filmmaker Stan Brakhage Metaphors on Vision and Brakhage Scrapbook are restored to print in this welcome reissue. Part of the great post-WWII generation of Americans who revolutionized every area of artistic activity, Brakhage was arguably as important to his medium as John Cage or Jackson Pollock were to theirs, and has never received his full due. This is at least partly because his work has been hard to actually see outside of a few places, and there is a lot to see 340 films over 48 years. But anyone who has seen even a minute or two of a film like Dog Star Man with its scratches and painted frames, its stunning juxtaposition of abstraction and materiality immediately recognizes not only Brakhage's singular sensibility, but also its enormous influence on our visual culture. To paraphrase David Bowie talking about the Velvet Underground, not a lot of people saw Brakhage's films, but everyone who did became a filmmaker. Luckily, Brakhage's writings convey much of the volcanic intelligence of his films, as well as eloquently extending their thematic concerns. Brakhage writes in a variety of modes, from the concise filmmaking manual of "A Moving Picture Giving and Taking Book" (written as "a short book on film technique which could be read by poets") to such poetically charged texts as "Angels" and "Notes of Anticipation," in which a film's shot list resembles a text by Gertrude Stein. The book also includes a number of interviews, as well as an annotated list of key films and an extensive bibliography. This book would be important even if Brakhage were not such an engaging writer, but the eclectic range and concision of this collection make it an essential addition to the small library of film classics by filmmakers.

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