Stan Brakhage: Crack Glass Eulogy (1991) - Can't Stop the Movies
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Stan Brakhage: Crack Glass Eulogy (1991)

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Many of Stan Brakhage's films are available for viewing in multiple venues.  You can watch Crack Glass Eulogy here.

Crack Glass Eulogy (1991)I am three films away from completing the first collection of Stan Brakhage's work.  What's been curious about the last few films is that, starting with Black Ice, there has been an ordering shift from Brakhage's work after his first marriage collapsed to a set of collaborations.  As I've discussed previously, his work is proudly and openly described by the man himself as originating from his own experiences and then he sets about making the film from those inspirations.  Collaboration is rare, and I like that we are getting a glimpse of that as we're closing out this first collection.

This brings us to today's film Crack Glass Eulogy.  After I...Dreaming, it's the second film I've seen seen incorporate music along with the visuals.  I...Dreaming suffered from a tendency to overexplain the visuals with the bluntest of instruments - onscreen text.  Crack Glass Eulogy is an entirely different beast, using music that is far more experimental and disjointed than the piece used for I...Dreaming and Brakhage follows in kind by making the visuals far more suggestive instead of explanatory.

Crack Glass Eulogy, by title alone, made me think of a car crash.  The visuals throughout Crack Glass Eulogy are suggestive of pavement, memories of a home that keep flickering away, various panes of glass and mirrors shattering from unseen causes, and flat 3/4 views of a city asleep.  Altogether they do suggest a sudden loss and the mind attempting to make sense of it afterward, with thoughts of home becoming more unbearable and harder to return to as the concrete impact and sensation of floating away from the world overtake the visual momentum.  Crack Glass Eulogy would be a haunting piece on the virtue of this construction alone as each close up and transition go further to separate the viewer from their normal physical perception and go along with the camera as it enters the next phase of its existence.

But when the soundtrack enters the mix it becomes downright transcendent.  Many of Brakhage's films have touched me deeply because of their visuals, but here is one instance when the music created by Rick Corrigan adds further discomfort to the experience.  The music makes the visuals sound like dying bits of information trying to rouse the brain from the slumber that it's heading toward.  As a result Crack Glass Eulogy becomes a sort of sad avant-garde music video, which makes it an interesting companion to the mainstream music videos that were hitting the creative peak.  Brakhage created one of his finest works by trusting the music to enhance his visual experience, and I'm curious to see if further successes like this remain in his career.

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Brakhage with text

Posted by Andrew

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