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The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes (1971)

 -  Documentary | Short | Horror
7.1
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Ratings: 7.1/10 from 845 users  
Reviews: 15 user | 7 critic

At a morgue, forensic pathologists conduct autopsies of the corpses assigned.

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(as Brakhage)
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Title: The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes (1971)

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Storyline

Forensic pathologists perform autopsies. The first two consist of examination, measurement, and checking muscles. The remaining ones involve cutting away bone to expose and examine internal organs, peeling back skin and muscle, removing organs, using syringes to extract bodily fluids, and cutting pieces of tissue. Clothes are inventoried. As each autopsy ends, bodies are covered with sheets. There is no soundtrack. We see a body with extensive burns. The work is sometimes delicate, sometimes not; but it's always gory so be warned. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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In order to obtain entry to the morgue, Stan Brakhage had to agree that he would not show any of the faces of the deceased. Also, the film had to be approved by all the medical examiners who were captured on film. See more »

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Followed by Eyes (1971) See more »

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User Reviews

A Stan Brakhage film about autopsy and dissection is at first, weird, but gradually becomes strangely natural.
13 June 2006 | by (USA) – See all my reviews

Now obviously, this film may sound silly. The film itself is basically a 40 minute film without narrative or opinion. It is simply a film depicting autopsy on dead bodies. At first this sounds gross and disgusting, but in reality, the skin of dead bodies are really nothing much other than dirt, or at least soon to be. The idea of this being gross can be pulled out of the fact that these bodies were once alive. Yes, we see images of the insides of their bodies. We see their brains and skull. We see the cuts being placed on their skin and then being opened to reveal a massive doorway to intestines, bone, blood,liver, veins, and other things. We do not know what kinds of things that these bodies did when they were alive and moving. We are not even shown what their facial features are like really. We just see their bodies being opened and examined. Stan Brakhage, an experimental filmmaker, doesn't consider that his audience may want to know these things. Or maybe he does but is not interested enough to show us. This way, we can leave our concerns behind and hope to get something out of these gruesome things. We may or may not, but the idea of this sort of meaning is enough to watch it more than once, if not to see if we react or see something differently.

(I watched this film as part of the DVD short film collection of Stan Brakhage entitled, BY BRAKHAGE: AN ANTHOLOGY.)


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