Frampton, Brakhage, RE:VOIR

From: David Tetzlaff (email suppressed)
Date: Thu Feb 18 2010 - 10:58:11 PST


Thanks you for taking the time to rely. My opinions are just my
opinions, and any shock or outrage I express when others do not share
them is more theater than anything.
I obviously mis-spoke in referring to Brakhage's 'larger aesthetic
project,' as if he had only one. I must also admit that I am not a
Brahage devotee in any general and broad sense. So, chunks of the
Brakhage project(s) don't interest me much if at all. As a former
academic who still thinks a lot like a professor, I do think that some
aspects of Brakhage's work have more significance from a film theory/
history standpoint than others. It's not a question of whether one
film is better than another, or whether one is more important in terms
of understanding Brakhage as Brakhage, but of it's importance to the
development of film art and our ideas about film art in general. And,
I would argue (and I do not think I'm alone) that the ideas in
'Metaphors' and the corresponding stylistic leap in 'Anticipation' are
the most significant contributions Brakhage made to the way people
think about and practice filmmaking. And, no, I don't think you need
to see everything he did before that to get that transition, just a
couple key texts (which can be compared and contrasted with other
contemporary experimental pieces), nor do you need to follow
Brakhage's evolution any farther to complete the thought. Could other
works substitute from Anticipation as exemplars of 'hypnogogic'
cinema? I suppose, but not, I think as well. There's something about
screening a Brakhage film that has it's roots in what Sitney called
'psychodrama', something like Shadow Garden or Reflections in Black,
something still partaking in familiar modes of representation that
doesn't look all that different from Deren, Anger etc., and then, bam,
here's Anticipation and it's just so totally different. I may be
wrong, but it also strikes me as to the film that focuses most purely
on the question of seeing the world poetically. Later works still take
up the question of vision very powerfully, obviously, but in more
specific ways relating to specific content or themes. Again, in terms
of trying to grab that particular big thing Brakhage did, the purity
of Anticipation seems especially valuable. The camera eye wanders over
a range of sights, and is ultimately overwhelmed by the act of truly
seeing anything and everything...
I hope that's a better explanation of why IMHO Anticipation is so
particularly important.

And besides, it's just my favorite :-).

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