A man is supine on a mountain side. Images rush past of nature and a stained glass saint. An infant is born. We see a lactating nipple. Images include a mountain peak, farm buildings, a tree stump, a fire, a crawling baby, and the sun. The man falls and rolls. Then, later, he swings his ax.Written by
This film was selected to the National Film Registry, Library of Congress, in 1992. See more »
Is also available in five parts: "Prelude: Dog Star Man" (1961), running 25 min; "Dog Star Man: Part 1" (1962), running 30 min; "Dog Star Man: Part 2" (1963), running 7 min; "Dog Star Man: Part 3" (1964), running 11 min; and Dog Star Man: Part IV, running 5 min. See more »
The movie 'Dog Star Man' directed by Stan Brakhage in 1964 is an experimental film about a man and his faithful dog. In the movie he utilizes himself, his wife, baby and dog. As a limited supply of actors, the viewer is stuck in a small world. This small world is cold with warming memories. This is beneficial to Stan Brakhage so that he can project this image of continual tension of the man climbing a mountain. Also adding the constant fear of death and mystery to give it suspense. The rapid cut of the film of trees and snow give a fearing near death experience. The pain staking technique of painting on every frame of film would have taken years in my eyes. The scratching on the film seemed random rather than deliberate but it somehow works. The colors Stan Brakhage used look like they are deliberate just the overall movement that he applies to the markings does not. The 'Man' as himself is a generalized figure of man in the generic term of the word. The man is climbing up the Colorado Mountain but there is an eternal struggle of life throughout the whole film. The symbolism of the male figure struggling throughout the whole movie is a simile about man's eternal battle throughout of everyone life, which reiterates nothing, is easy or comes easy. The Stan Brakhage is using the dog as man's guide through the snowstorm but both are cool and tired. The 'Wife' (his wife) utilizing old film pieces from his other movies. Creating the 'Wife' as a warm memory, using a warm light and rapid clips of her body makes a loving and nurturing look that he is remembering parts of her at a time. The woman in the film is not really shown as a whole but a thought or a memory. We as the viewer, only see bits and pieces of her actions that gave me the impression of the man persisting up the mountain to get to her loving arms. The 'Baby' in the movie is Stan' s son. But it is also used as a generalized one, of a baby. In the sense of taking care of the wife and baby be getting to them to be the provider. The man, trying to reach the baby and wife but not necessarily at the top of the mountain but just in the intent of reach them and reuniting with them. In the movie we can only assume that the man gets connected with them again but I do feel like it does happen. The 'Dog', as man's best friend. Is the generalized figure of dog, being faithful to the end. This animal is also in a consent fight to the loyalty of the man but also had thought of the dog being stupid for guiding him in a snowstorm and or up a mountain. But I see the dog as the guide and can sense the wife and baby searching for their smell. In the similar sense like a bloodhound would search for a criminal in a forest to capture him for the police. The dog is going the same for the man. To reiterate the movie as a whole is inspirational. I enjoyed the painted film technique that Stan Brakhage applied to the movie, scratching and drawing, giving a pain-staking look to the movie. I would like to try that in my own way or technique. I see the connection to the title of the movie but only if hearing then commentary about the title for a basis. The commentary helped in the plots foundation, otherwise it would have probably took me just about the whole movie to get and idea of what is going on and why is this man climbing a mountain with a dog.
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