In order to enrich the selection of Experimental Narratives and Avant-Garde Shorts, GME is especially proud to now add legendary film artist Stan Brakhage to the collection, debuting here with his first masterful foray into the then still newly evolving long form of film experimentation with ANTICIPATION OF THE NIGHT (1958).
Stan Brakhage is one of the seminal figures in 20th-century experimental cinema. His 1958 ANTICIPATION OF THE NIGHT is a benchmark of the lyrical film, which postulates the artist behind the camera as the first-person protagonist of the film. Noted scholar P. Adams Sitney has written that “The great achievement of ANTICIPATION OF THE NIGHT is the distillation of an intense and complex interior crisis into an orchestration of sights and associations which adhere into a new formal rhetoric of camera movement and montage.” GME offers this film for the first time ever in a DVD/Blu-ray Combo Pak edition. As this film was not represented on the Criterion DVD of Brakhage’s work, this digital publication is therefore an essential addition to any teaching and library collection of this filmmaker’s oeuvre, of experimental cinema more broadly, and of modern art in general.
"Imagine an eye unruled by man-made laws of perspective, an eye unprejudiced by compositional logic, an eye which does not respond to the name of everything but which must know each object encountered in life through an adventure of perception."
– Stan Brakhage
James Stanley Brakhage (January 14, 1933 – March 9, 2003), better known as Stan Brakhage, was an American non-narrative filmmaker. He is considered to be one of the most important figures in 20th-century experimental film. Over the course of five decades, Brakhage created a large and diverse body of work, exploring a variety of formats, approaches and techniques that included handheld camerawork, painting directly onto celluloid, fast cutting, in-camera editing, scratching on film, collage film and the use of multiple exposures. Interested in mythology and inspired by music, poetry, and visual phenomena, Brakhage sought to reveal the universal in the particular, exploring themes of birth, mortality, sexuality and innocence.
About this film in particular, P. Adams Sitney has also written that “ANTICIPATION OF THE NIGHT works beautifully in its totality. It describes the doomed quest for an absolutely authentic, renewed, and untutored vision. The tender rendering of the crawling baby, the riding, and finally the dreaming children offer only momentary solace – and a more profound despair in the recognition of the impossibility of regaining the kind of innocence – to the visionary protagonist, who is seeking a cure to heal the irreconcilable divorce between consciousness and nature that he dreads.”
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