Wednesday, February 8, 2017

2/15/18 LIGHT PLAY: Stan Brakhage & Marie Menken

Anticipation of the Night by Stan Brakhage
16MM, 1958, 40min
A seminal film for Brakhage and for film history, where the psychodramas of this filmmaker’s early work transformed into a wholly new kinaesthetic vocabulary. Anticipation of the Night builds off the lyricism of Marie Menken, the poetic vocabulary of exact and nuanced yet repetition found in Gertrude Stein. And perhaps unconsciously the morbid – celebratory runaway chase of Rene Clair's Entr’acte which ends with magical self annihilation followed by the contradiction of a coda that calls the bluff. This film is a rapturous idyll, a lamentation, an exorcism and a death wish. It traces the mortal trajectory of our visual experience from Edenic optical ecstasies into a descending tilt towards the eclipsing “night” of vision arrested and crucified by the process of socialisation. Everything in Anticipation of the Night is seen in a multiplicity of aspects, changing velocities, crucial shifts of light and granular structures.

Moonplay by Marie Menken
16MM, B/W 1964, 5min
'An expansion upon an idea put forward in Marie Menken's film Notebook; single-frame footage of the moon shot on various nights, blinking and darting around within Menken's field of vision. --David Lewis, All Movie Guide
'A lunar fantasy in animated stop-motion.
16MM, 1961, 4min
Filmed at the Alhambra in Spain in just one day, according to Marie MENKEN. Arabesque for Kenneth Anger concentrates on visual details found in Moorish architecture and in ancient Spanish tile. The date 1961 refers to the addition of Teiji Ito's soundtrack and its subsequent completion, but the film was likely shot in 1960 or earlier. - D. Lewis

by Marie Menken
16MM, 1963, 10.5min