This film is included on "By Brakhage: an Anthology", which is part of the Criterion Collection, spine #184. See more »
Turn on the machine?
"The Machine of Eden" makes for interesting and slightly uncomfortable viewing, and is frontended with shots of a kind of mechanism which remains shrouded and unlcear. The film resolves into a sequence of images that meditate on the titular conception of Eden, and -- to this viewer -- bring to the fore the interplay of sources of motion itself in the film: virtually every shot involves a competition between motion that comes from one or more of several sources, whether it be from mechanistic or natural elements in the frame (snow blowing in the wind), adjustment of the zoom on the camera being used (drawing attention to the mechanism of filmmaking itself as this short film does -- possibly alluded to in the title), physical manipulation of the camera, motion of a conveyance the camera is on, or intentional manipulation of objects being recorded.
In that way the film becomes a kind of meditation on motion, change, and film itself, which alludes obliquely to the elements suggested by the title. The question, perhaps, is whether the camera itself ever can be a machine of Eden?
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