-First and foremost, the ever-generous Phil Solomon is doubling your viewing pleasure with two extended videos involving Brakhage speaking on both Scenes From Under Childhood and 23rd Psalm Branch. As made clear with these last posts I obviously value the insights of others who have spent a great deal of time with the work, but when it comes down to it the greatest understanding comes from the man himself.
(The Wonder Ring)
(23rd Psalm Branch)
(Scenes From Under Childhood Pt. One)
-Speaking of which, I hope said posts can serve a twofold purpose. First and foremost as encouragement to seek out the films themselves. As explicated upon both here and elsewhere, the standard and the blu-ray releases are absolutely invaluable viewing opportunities. Second, I hope they can perhaps spark interest towards the many writings Brakhage produced. Brakhage's writing is full of wit and wonder, and while at times it can present many of the challenges to be found in his films, the potential rewards are just as substantial.
(The Machine of Eden)
-While there have been some fascinating studies by very knowledgeable and erudite individuals (Fred Camper, P. Adams Sitney, Marie Nesthus, Bruce Elder to just name a few) the truth remains that the surface has barely been scratched, when it comes to his output there are endless possibilities yet to be explored/examined.
(Domain of the Moment)
(Visions in Meditation #1)
-I think one of the greatest benefits of this new release is the ability to play the films at different speeds without worrying about jamming the projector or damaging a print. Watching these works at 1/2 or 1/4 speed offers a totally new viewing experience and a whole new appreciation for the subtle rhythms pulsing through every frame.
(Visions in Meditation #2: Mesa Verde)
(Visions in Meditation #3: Plato's Cave)
(Visions in Meditation #4: D.H. Lawrence)
(Unconscious London Strata)
(Boulder Blues and Pearls and...)
-The blu-ray would no doubt be a bit unrealistic, but if possible please encourage your local city/county/university library to order the standard release of volume two for their collection. Most established libraries have both a system for handling requests and a collection of DVDs that are available to rent by patrons. For those a little tight on money or seeking out a first encounter with the work, this is the perfect avenue. It may end up sitting on the shelf untouched for many months, but eventually someone will stumble across it and rediscover their eyes.
(The Mammals of Victoria)
(From: First Hymn to the Night-Novalis)
(I Take These Truths)
(The Cat of the Worm's Green Realm)
(Yggdrasill: Whose Roots Are Stars in the Human Mind)
-It seems that one of the most common 'issues' raised by those appreciative of the release (one discussed here a few months back) is the inclusion of only single parts of series, leaving the viewer craving more. While it would certainly be nice to have the full works close at hand, I think that this can be a good thing in the sense that it can act as a sort of catalyst towards further exploration on film. Try harassing your local film societies and university film departments or gather together some like-minded individuals and try to pool money for a rental (it's been anything but a success story for me, but something has to eventually give). Both the CFMDC and Canyon Cinema have lovely new websites to aid in the endeavor.
("..." Reel Five)
-That's all for now on this incredible release, I hope to examine some of these works further here in the near future (understandably most of the reviews only glossed over the films themselves, they are so varied and complex that any sort of summary appears woefully insufficient) but I'll leave you with a final bit of poetry...