Stan Brakhage: Unconscious London Strata (1982) - Can't Stop the Movies
Can't Stop the Movies

Stan Brakhage: Unconscious London Strata (1982)

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Unlike previous entries, today's Stan Brakhage film is not readily available online but can be watched as part of The Criterion Collection's second "by Brakhage" volume.

Unconscious London Strata - 1982The second collection of Stan Brakhage films has helped me further refine what I like and dislike in images.  Throughout much of this second volume, Brakhage's images have a hazy and distorted feel.  The emphasis is more on transition between states, the way a nearly solid or blurred mess of color transforms into something else.  Considering the way death has featured prominently in many of the shorts in this second collection this is a good way to express the moment between the energy of life and then whatever lies beyond.

It's also fueled some films that are a complete chore to get through, such as today's Unconscious London Strata.  I am bored of the way the blurry haze of stacked colors and images serves as a stand-in for that moment when our minds are starting to go unconscious.  Brakhage's work in this case makes me think less of that transitory state and more wandering around Las Vegas after swimming in a heavily chlorinated pool.  I didn't feel like I was peeking at the edges of conscious thought, but trying to refocus on a landscape that seemed familiar but I was physically unable to comprehend.

My frustration here could be that my dreams could be uncommonly sharp compared to others, so the blurred line between the unconscious and conscious state here is not as appealing to me.  But even then, the way that one set of colors phases into the next is so familiar after watching films like Desert.  After two or three of these they all start to blend together, no matter what kind of color pattern Brakhage uses.  I have about five weeks worth of Brakhage left to digest.  Here's hoping that the experience varies a bit.

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Brakhage with text

Posted by Andrew

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