A creation myth realized in light, patterns, images superimposed, rapid cutting, and silence. A black screen, then streaks of light, then an explosion of color and squiggles and happenstance. Next, images of small circles emerge then of the Sun. Images of our Earth appear, woods, a part of a body, a nude woman perhaps giving birth. Imagery evokes movement across time.Written by
When you climb a mountain and come down the other side, you're in a different place. When we saw Prelude: Dog Star Man in 1963, after it was over we were in a new world. My college roommate Bob and I ran a film series - the last night was this masterpiece. Brakhage had just finished editing it. He sent us the 16mm print in a can. (There were a few bits of popcorn in the can too.) The print even had some last-minute splices in it. I couldn't imagine him sending it out with splices. But that was his generosity. Watching the film with a hundred students who, like almost everyone else on Earth, had never seen a movie remotely like this one, was a thrilling experience. They loved it. I certainly did - two years later, my film school thesis was about the complete version, which Brakhage had titled The Art of Vision. He passed away last year - perhaps the cancer was caused by the toxic pigments he used to diligently paint his cinematic creations, particularly his later, completely abstract works. But the mountain remains - the mountain of his film output, the mountain of the legacy of a life dedicated to Vision.
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