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Cat's Cradle (1959)

 -  Short
6.1
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Ratings: 6.1/10 from 526 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 2 critic

Images of two women, two men, and a gray cat form a montage of rapid bits of movement. A woman is in a bedroom, another wears an apron: they work with their hands, occasionally looking up. ... See full summary »

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Title: Cat's Cradle (1959)

Cat's Cradle (1959) on IMDb 6.1/10

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Cast

Credited cast:
Jane Brakhage
Stan Brakhage
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Storyline

Images of two women, two men, and a gray cat form a montage of rapid bits of movement. A woman is in a bedroom, another wears an apron: they work with their hands, occasionally looking up. A man enters a room, a woman smiles. He sits, another man sits and smokes. The cat stretches. There are close-ups of each. The light is dim; a filter accentuates red. A bare foot stands on a satin sheet. A woman disrobes. She pets the cat. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

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close up | cat | bedroom | bare feet | couples | See more »

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Short

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1.37 : 1
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oh man
22 December 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

To me, a film like Cat's Cradle represents something fundamental in what I see as the difference between film's style and substance. This film succeeds completely by the live or die rules of style. But unlike substance, with style the sky's the limit. This is also the 'avant-garde' style of an artist, Stan Brakhage, who for the bulk of his lifetime (aside from being a film professor) has done little short films in the style of Andy Warhol, though not to compare him to him. Many of his works are based on two crucial sides, and one could arguably hold more to his true gift than the other.

One side is his gift for compositions, lighting and likewise usage of color. Scenes in this film are given a very rough, but very precise, use of reds, magenta's, burnt oranges and yellows, whites, darks, and often in strange close-ups or 'intimate' (if one could call them that) medium shots. Some of the shots are so detailed, and at the same time the other side to his style comes through- his use of montage. One could just say editing, but with a man like Brakhage, montage is really what applies, at least for this film (some of his less-than-one-minute films are even more intricate with shots, and then over like that).

It leads one into realizing why there isn't as much substance as style to the film, as it's all too immense to take in with symbols and such. Besides, who wants to focus on 'substance' when it is not only replaced but inhabited by the style? I loved the speed that was given in most of the film, and then how it went along further. It's really sensual as well with the imagery, even as it is mostly cut a cat, and it's fur, and Brakhage's wife, and so on.

In short, the film doesn't necessarily 'make sense' on the first viewing, but why carp. This is obviously the kind of grade-A underground art-film directing that likely inspired the likes of Darren Aronofsky- taking editing over the invisible line of what's traditional in montage, and trying to get the audience successfully with them.


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