The art and legacy of a towering figure in the independent film movement
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edited by David E. James
Stan Brakhage: Filmmaker is a collection of essays, photographs, personal statements, and reminiscences about the celebrated avant-garde filmmaker who died in 2003. The director of nearly four hundred short films, including Dog Star Man, Parts I-IV, and the Roman Numeral Series, Brakhage is widely recognized as one of the great artists of the medium. His shorts eschewed traditional narrative structure, and his innovations in fast cutting, hand-held camerawork, and multiple superimpositions created an unprecedentedly rich texture of images that provided the vocabulary for the explosion of independent filmmaking in the 1960s.
Stan Brakhage: Filmmaker chronicles both the director's personal and formal development. The essays in this bookby historians, filmmakers, and other artistsassess Brakhage's contributions to the aesthetic and political history of filmmaking, from his emergence on the film scene and the establishment of his reputation, to the early-1980s. The result is a remarkable tribute to this lyrical, visionary artist.
"Stan Brakhage: Filmmaker contains arguments and perspectives on Brakhage's work I've not seen before. The combination of academic perspectives and those of filmmakers is an especially original and appropriate way to treat Brakhage, who always hoped his films would inspire new ways of seeing and making, and is a major strength of this fine book, which offers a variety of new and interesting ways of thinking about Brakhage's films."
"To sing in praise of Stan Brakhage is to sing in praise of cinemadaring us to see as we have never seen before. These wonderfully diverse essays take the measure of one of cinema's great visionaries."
"A pity that Brakhage did not live to see the book, because the essayists listed in the table of contents read like a Who's Who of the avant-garde... All these folks came to praise Brakhage, not to bury him. Contemporary film student need to know that such an abstract visual talent as Brakhage could succeed in the US, and therein lies the book's value. Recommended."
"An anthology praising perhaps the best-known and most widely-celebrated American avant-garde filmmaker."
"[A] remarkable-and remarkably compellingportrait of Brakhage as artist, theorist, and friend.... The highlight of this collection is the selection of reminiscences by Brakhage's friends, artists and filmmakers."
David E. James is Professor in the School of Cinema-Television at the University of Southern California. He is the editor of The Sons and Daughters of Los: Culture and Community in Los Angeles (Temple) and author of The Most Typical Avant-Garde: History and Geography of Minor Cinemas in Los Angeles.
Contributors: Paul Arthur, Montclair State University; Bruce Baillie; Abigail Child; Edward Dorn; Craig Dworkin; R. Bruce Elder; Nicky Hamlyn, Kent Institute of Art and Design; Jonas Mekas; Tyrus Miller, University of California, Santa Cruz; Carolee Schneemann; P. Adams Sitney, Princeton University; Phil Solomon, University of Colorado, Boulder; Chick Strand; James Tenney, California Institute of the Arts; Willie Varela, University of Texas at El Paso; and the editor.
In the series
The mission of Wide Angle Books is to document, chronicle, and honor those institutions that have worked effectively to maintain a public presence and public spaces for alternative forms of media. These books recognize that institutional support of media happens at a variety of levels in a film series, in a video distribution organization, in a transnational digital network, in a grassroots production organization and in locations across the globe. Individual volumes in the series focus on such forms of primary documentation as letters, institutional records, and oral histories, presented and contextualized by leading media history scholars.