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Spielberg Theater at the Egyptian
Los Angeles, CA
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Sunday June 6, 2010, 7:30 pm  

Los Angeles Filmforum presents BY BRAKHAGE: A 16MM FILM SCREENING

At the Egyptian Theatre, 6712 Hollywood Blvd. at Las Palmas, Los Angeles

Filmforum opens June with a celebratory program of 16mm films by Stan Brakhage, commemorating the release of Criterion's DVD set By Brakhage: An Anthology, Volume Two.  However, we also wish to commemorate the continued availability of all of Stan Brakhage's films on film, the format in which they are ideally intended to be seen.  As such, tonight's program draws its films from the contents of Criterion's DVD release, but presented in their original 16mm.  Brakhage's filmmaking is so vividly and deeply about the textures and properties of celluloid film and the apparatus of film projection, and this program is designed to highlight works from this excellent DVD release that particularly benefit from projection in their original medium.  The Criterion release is cause for celebration, but we also invite you to continue to seek out and support the projection of films on film as much as possible.

Program curated and introduced by Mark Toscano, preservationist at the Academy Film Archive.  Prints from the Academy Film Archive and Canyon Cinema.

Admission for Filmforum screenings: $10 general, $6 students/seniors, free for Filmforum members
Advance ticket purchase available through Brown Paper Tickets at

PLEASE NOTE: Another program of Stan Brakhage films will be presented in two weeks on Sunday, June 20, 2010, focusing exclusively on Brakhage's sound filmmaking.  In fact, the two sound films in tonight's program provide a nice lead-in to the next show, which will include some rarely seen films that demonstrate Brakhage's unique approach to sound.  We hope to see you then!

STAN BRAKHAGE, 1933-2003
Born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1933, Brakhage moved to Denver, Colorado at the age of six.  He sang as a boy soprano soloist, dreamed of being a poet, and graduated from South High School in 1951 with a scholarship to Dartmouth.  After one semester, he left to pursue a life in the Arts, returning to Denver to make his first film in 1952.

Before his death in March, 2003, Brakhage had completed more than 350 films, ranging from the psycho-dramatic works of the early 1950s to autobiographical lyrics, mythological epics, "documents," and metaphorical film 'poems' -- variously employing his uniquely developed hand-held camera and rapid editing techniques, multiple superimpositions, collages, photographic abstractions, and elaborate hand-painting applied directly to the surface of the film.  A deeply personal filmmaker, Brakhage's great project was to explore the nature of light and all forms of vision  while encompassing a vast range of subject matter. He frequently referred to his works as "visual music" or "moving visual thinking."  The majority of his films are intentionally silent.

Brakhage taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and as Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder.  The recipient of three Honorary Degrees and numerous prestigious awards, he lectured extensively on filmmaking and the Arts, and is the author of 11 books  including his seminal 1963 work, Metaphors On Vision, and his more recent series of essays, Telling Time. - Marilyn Brakhage, December 2007

Two: Creeley/McClure (1965, color, silent 24fps, 5min.)
"Two portraits in relation to each other, the first of Robert Creeley, the second of Michael McClure." (Stan Brakhage)
Restored print from the Academy Film Archive.

Scenes From Under Childhood, Section One (sound version) (1967, color, sound, 25min.)
"A visualization of the inner world of foetal beginnings, the infant, the baby, the child - a shattering of the 'myths of childhood' through revelation of the extremes of violent terror and overwhelming joy of that world darkened to most adults by their sentimental remembering of it ... a 'tone poem' for the eye  very inspired by the music of Oliver Messiaen.  (The visual imagery was inspired by Messiaen - NOT the Sound Track.)" (Stan Brakhage)
Stan Brakhage had originally stated that he would remove the sound version of this film from distribution once all four parts of the feature were completed, but he ultimately never did so.  For this evening's program, it was decided to run the sound version of the film for a few reasons: the film is rarely shown with its original soundtrack, and to connect this film with the followup program of Brakhage's sound films on June 20, 2010.  It also seemed a worthwhile exploration of what Brakhage described as "the 'sound problem' of motion picture aesthetic."  (Mark Toscano)
Kodachrome print from the Academy Film Archive.

The Process (1972, color, silent 24fps, 8min.)
"LIGHT was primary in my consideration. All senses of "process" are (to me) based primarily on 'thought-process'; and 'thought-process' is based primarily on 'memory re-call'; and that, as any memory process (all process finally) is electrical (firing of nerve connection) and expresses itself most clearly as a 'back-firing' of nerve endings in the eye which DO become visible to us (usually eyes closed) as 'brain movies'  as Michael McClure calls them. When we are not re-constructing 'a scene' (re-calling something once seen), then we are watching (on the 'screen' of closed eye-lids) the very PROCESS itself." (Stan Brakhage)
New print from the Academy Film Archive.

Yggdrasill: Whose Roots are Stars in the Human Mind (1997, color, silent 24fps, 17min.)
"This film, a combination of hand-painting and photography, is a fulsome exposition of the themes of DOG STAR MAN. In that early epic I had envisioned The World Tree as dead, fit only for firewood; and at end of DOG STAR MAN I had chopped it up amidst a flurry of stars (finally Cassiopia's Chair): now, these many years later, I am compelled to comprehend YGGDRASILL as rooted in the complex electrical synapses of thought process, to sense it being alive today as when nordic legendry hatched it. I share this compulsion with Andrei Tarkovsky, whose last film The Sacrifice struggles to revive The World Tree narratively, whereas I simply present (one might almost say 'document') a moving graph approximate to my thought process, whereby The Tree roots itself as the stars we, reflectively, are." (Stan Brakhage)

From: First Hymn to the Night  Novalis (1994, color, silent 24fps, 3min.)
"This a hand-painted film whose emotionally referential shapes and colors are interwoven with words (in English) from the first Hymn to the Night by the late 18th century mystic poet Friedrich Philipp von Hardenberg, whose pen name was Novalis. The pieces of text which I've used are as follows: 'the universally gladdening light ... As inmost soul ... it is breathed by stars ... by stone ... by suckling plant ... multiform beast ... and by (you). I turn aside to Holy Night ... I seek to blend with ashes. Night opens in us ... infinite eyes ... blessed love.'" (Stan Brakhage)
New print from the Academy Film Archive.

Visions in Meditation #3 (Plato's Cave) (1990, color, sound, 17min.)
"Plato's cave would seem to be the idée fixe of this film. The vortex would, then, be the phenomenological world  overwhelming, and thus 'uninhabitable.' The structures of thoughtful meditation are naturally, therefore, equivocal so that, for example, even a tornado-in-the-making will be both 'dust devil' and 'finger of God' at one with the clockwork sun and the strands of ice/fire, horizon, rock, clouds, so on. The film is, I believe, a vision of mentality as most people must (to the irritation of Plato) have it, safely encaved and metaphorical, for the nervous system to survive. All the same I hope, with this work, to have brought a little 'rush light' into the darkness. The film is set to the three movements of Rick Corrigan's 'Memory Suite.' Its multiple superimpositions are superbly timed by Louise Fujiki, of Western Cine, as usual." (Stan Brakhage)

This screening series is supported, in part, by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors through the Los Angeles County Arts Commission and the Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles.  Additional support generously provided by the American Cinematheque.

For the screenings at the Egyptian Theater:
Parking is now easiest at the Hollywood & Highland complex. Bring your ticket for validation. Parking is $2 for 4 hours with validation. Enter that complex on Highland or Hollywood. The theater is 1.5 blocks east.


Spielberg Theater at the Egyptian
6712 Hollywood Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90028
United States



Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: No
Wheelchair Accessible: No


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