Thursday, September 11, 2014

By Brakhage: An Anthology, Volumes One and Two (The Criterion Collection)

By Brakhage: An Anthology, Volumes One and TwoI give thanks from Japan.

A picture of the blue-ray disc is very beautiful.

When I watch a silent film of Mr. Brakhage, I get dark the illumination and get alone at midnight.

This process make me a mysterious impression.

You can probably find ample good reviews of this set online, since this is an early Blu-Ray edition from the essential Criterion Collection, and is a lush and perfect enough package to have received awards. I purchase very few movies on disc, in spite of being a rabid cinephile; and this is one BR set that I bought _without hesitation_. Describing some of the films might sound like parody, insured boredom, or unbearable pretense, but I'm telling you....experiencing the films is something else. Theoretical baggage is posterior to the immediate, sensual experience of the films, as they unfold. Brakhage was a magician of some kind, a sui generis artist.

Listening to music while watching these silent film-paintings (even the ones that are not hand painted, as are his later films) is probably fine, but I'd personally suggest trying (and trying....and trying...) them in silence, the way he intended them to be seen. The effect is, I think, an intensification of the experience, since (if I'm correct) SB intended the films to BE A FORM OF MUSIC, or at least to be very much like music, in its essence. I've done this with friends, sometimes several hours at a time, and the effect is not just in my own head; others concur, and even bring it up afterwards without me prompting them.

The only other thing I might suggest is going out of your way to see these on celluloid if you can, while celluloid and film projectors still exist. And while these particular films still exist, _as_ films, which might not be for terribly much longer. It really is a different experience. I know, I know...isn't it always? But with many of these works, maybe all of's really, really a different experience. It will shake you.

Critic Fred Camper, a sensitive and humble writer on many kinds of film art, has written extensively on Brakhage (including notes in this DVD/BR edition), and his website is a valuable resource. Also amazing is Brakhage's own short-lived radio show, which you can hear on Ubuweb. It is wonderful to hear the man speak! He's a mystic, but not a flake. And not drunk on himself, just honestly intent on, well, breaking through something to something else. How else to say this?

Buy By Brakhage: An Anthology, Volumes One and Two (The Criterion Collection) Now

Stan Brakhage is one of cinema's most unique artists. His films have a (literally) hands-on and human approach that has simply remained unmatched. Highlights include Mothlight, Window Water Baby Moving (surely one of the most beautiful films ever made), Dog Star Man, 23rd Psalm Branch, Night Music and Chinese Series (Brakhage's final work).

Criterion's massive blu-ray release of 56 Brakhage films allows his vision to shine even clearer than ever before. These films look magnificent. While some are limited by their sources, others (particularly his hand-painted films) look immaculate.

The audio is a bit hard to judge, as most of these films completely lack a soundtrack. Those that do have sound come across decent enough, though they are, again, limited by their sources.

The extras are plentiful and all worthwhile. The mulyi-part Brakhage on Brakhage series allows the filmmaker to freely discuss his creative process and influences, as well as share from interesting stories about fellow artists. Several lectures and interviews are also included, as well as For Stan, Marilyn Brakhage's short film dedicated to her husband.

The real treat here are the audio remarks by Brakhage, which detail the making and inspiration behind each individual film. These are only included on the first volume of this collection, however.

By Brakhage is one of Criterion's very finest releases, and thus, one of the greatest home video releases of all time.

Read Best Reviews of By Brakhage: An Anthology, Volumes One and Two (The Criterion Collection) Here

This is a fantastic blu ray for vj's and artists in general, a great update on the Vol. 1 and 2 on DVD. For me it is a great way to pepper my live music with his images. Stunning.

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This video was a requested gift something he had seen and wanted. This particular video was as expected, excellent quality and condition and he is quite satisfied with it.

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