A collage of two-dimensional images of vegetation, each appearing only for a moment, sometimes as a single image, more often with other bits of stem, leaf, bud, or petal. Often we see only ... See full summary »
After the title, a white screen gives way to a series of frames suggestive of abstract art, usually with one or two colors dominating and rapid change in the images. Two figures emerge from... See full summary »
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 »
Four young men and a young woman sit in boredom. She smokes while one strums a lute, one looks at a magazine, and two fiddle with string. The door opens and in comes a young man, cigarette ... See full summary »
Another one of Stan Brakhage's many mesmerizing hand-painted short films, BLACK ICE draws the viewer down into a cacophony of both beauty and horror.
Inspired by a bad fall on a patch of black ice (that ultimately resulted in Brakhage's need for eye surgery), the filmmaker gives us something of a dreamlike descent through the fear and refractions of closed-eye vision regarding such an event. With one layer of rapidly cascading shards of colour and a second layer of similar abstract pieces slowly zooming, scuttling and dissolving towards the viewer out of the dark void of utter blackness, it does not become hard to feel as if one is almost being sucked down to some terrible peril as well. The wonderful use of counter-pacing between the layers -- which must be largely credited to collaborator and optical printer Sam Bush, also -- and the more abundant use of deep black space to sharpen the bursts of rich colour are what really helps define BLACK ICE as an exquisite experimental piece, even amongst the wealth of Brakhage's other painted-light pieces. The result is both a stunning visual and metaphysical achievement of depth on screen. And beautifully urgent, as well.
8/10. A concisely contrived "accident" of colour and lost light.
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