Showing posts with label Marilyn Brakhage. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marilyn Brakhage. Show all posts

Into the Blu

As most everyone should know by now, in just a few days Criterion will officially be bringing Brakhage back into the home with their blu-ray (re)release of the first and a second volume of his work.  To celebrate the release in the coming week I will be posting various past critical writings from both Brakhage and other scholars dealing with films included in the release, as well as any reviews of the release itself that are sure to be forthcoming.  A few reviews have already started trickling out:


Marilyn Brakhage's eloquent introduction to the release can be found here...


First Update:

- DVD Talk review

- DVD Beaver review

- DVD File review

- Home Theater review  

Second Update:

- Slant Magazine 

- DVD Verdict

- Criterion Forum 

- DVD Movie Central

Third Update:

- Groucho Reviews

- DVD Clinic Review  (I debated on whether or not to even bother putting this up, as it is flat out embarrassing, but for the sake of being thorough here it is...)

- We're An American Blog

Thoughts on First Update:
Though these reviews don't really provide any sort of critical insight whatsoever, I think the first at least is an honest and worthwhile reaction from someone previously unfamiliar with the work, a reaction I imagine will be shared by many upon first encounter (though please don't allow the appearance of these works online to negatively affect your decision).

Thoughts on Second Update:
The Slant Magazine review may be the most substantial thus far, and while it too is more of a general appraisal the approach is largely level-headed and fair.  The most significant quibble to be had in any of these reviews so far would be the last, in which the reviewer tries to draw a connection between Dadaism and Brakhage, which is extremely tenuous at best. 


This also can serve as another opportunity to gives thanks to all those who worked towards making this release a reality, most of all Marilyn Brakhage, who has no doubt sacrificed a great deal of time and effort to give us all the opportunity to have these invaluable works so close at hand...

By Brakhage



 Today Criterion made official (at least the type of official that comes with bells and whistles) what many had been patiently waiting a considerable amount of time for, the release date of the upcoming By Brakhage Vol. 2, which will be released simultaneously with a three-disc Blu-ray version containing all of the films included on the previous By Brakhage Vol. 1 on the 25th of May.  As mentioned elsewhere the films that will be included in this second volume are as follows:

The Wonder Ring (1955)
The Dead (1960)
Two: Creeley/McClure (1965)
23rd Psalm Branch (1966-1967/1979-1980)
Scenes From Under Childhood [Part One] (1967)
The Machine of Eden (1970)
The Process (1972) 
Star Garden (1974)
"He was born, he suffered, he died" (1974)

 Desert (1976)
The Domain of the Moment (1977)
Burial Path (1978)
Murder Psalm (1980)
Duplicity III (1980)
Unconscious London Strata (1981)
Arabic 12 (1981)
Visions in Meditatiion 1-4 (1989-1990)
Boulder Blues and Pearls And… (1993)
The Mammals of Victoria (1994)
From: First Hymn to the NIght – Novalis (1994)
I Take These Truths (1995)
The Cat of the Worm's Green Realm (1997)
Yggdrasill: Whose Roots Are Stars in the Human Mind (1997)
Ellipsis Reel 5 (1998)
Persians 1-3 (1999)
Chinese Series (2003)

Extras that will be included are:

- Brakhage on Brakhage, a collection of video encounters with the filmmaker
- For Stan, a short film by Marilyn Brakhage
- Excerpts from a 1990 interview with Brakhage
- Footage from Brakhage’s salon at the University of Colorado
[[thanks Phil!]]
- Audio recordings of two lectures by Brakhage
- A booklet featuring a foreword and program notes by Marilyn Brakhage, as well as write-ups of the films and an essay by Brakhage expert Fred Camper

If am being entirely honest there are some mixed feelings that come along with this announcement.  It’s no doubt exciting news, it is clear that there was a concerted effort to include a broader range of films, allowing for the viewer to get some sense of the artistic progression that took place over his fifty plus year career.  Like volume one, it also offers the opportunity for greater in-depth personal study of each of the films, which will surely be enhanced by the increased clarity that comes along with Blu-ray (I suppose if there ever was a an occasion that warranted the purchase of a blu-ray player it would be this).  My main concern though is that once again these films will end up on YouTube or some like minded sight and be taken completely for granted, a prejudice that I have encountered repeatedly in my attempts to gain financial support for film screenings.  The availability of these films on a more convenient format SHOULD NOT take the place of FILM viewing opportunities (though I think this tendency will be tempered somewhat by the wise decision to include only single parts of larger series), the ephemeral mingling of light and emulsion with which these were obviously meant to be experienced.  Nevertheless the positives FAR outweigh any minor apprehensions one might have, after all, it was a fortuitous encounter with the first volume that got me started down this path I’m now walking, and the best that can be hoped for is that this new offering will have a similar impact on others.

The releases are available for pre-order through the Criterion website...

(((Now what are these whispers I hear of a Frampton volume in the works?...)))