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Experimental Filmmaker Stan Brakhage Has Passed Away

Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.

I’m not familiar with this man’s work, except by reputation, but maybe that will change thanks to Criterion this summer. In the meantime, our condolences to his friends, family, students, and fans.


Sad to report that experimental filmmaking legend Stan Brakhage passed away on Sunday.

The details are posted here.

Most of your readers probably don't know who Stan Brakhage is, or maybe they know him only from his acting turn in CANNIBAL! THE MUSICAL. But they know - for instance - David Fincher, who was highly influenced by Brakhage's films in the credits of SEVEN, or Oliver Stone, who took Brakhage's layering of images and manipulation of film texture and ran with it. Or that tape in THE RING, which certainly bears some marks of Brakhage's style. Or the very ending of Scorsese's THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST. Or the many filmmakers, both experimental and narrative, who were influenced by Brakhage's modest means of production to attempt to make their own films in a similar manner outside the studio apparatus. Hell, even Lloyd Kaufman's been influenced by him (check out this interview).

Everything comes from somebody else, and a lot of things in contemporary cinema come from Stan Brakhage. We're all the poorer for his absence.

In May (unless they push it back), Criterion will be releasing BY BRAKHAGE on DVD, which will contain many (26, to be precise) Brakhage films from all phases of his career - from legendary films like DOG STAR MAN and MOTHLIGHT and WINDOW WATER BABY MOVING to recent hand painted films like the astounding BLACK ICE.

Even though it's a small fraction of his total filmography, considering that his films have basically been unavailable on video up til this point (with the exception of some very obscure VHS releases of a few films) this release is an incredible gift. I'm sure many people will discover Brakhage's genius for the first time this way. It's a shame the man himself won't be around to appreciate the recognition it brings him.

RIP, Stan.

Call me Mr. Ertia.

Thanks for sending that in.

"Moriarty" out.

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