b. January 14, 1933, Kansas City, Missouri, USA
d. March 9, 2003, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

articles in Senses
web resources

If Maya Deren invented the American avant-garde cinema, Stan Brakhage realized its potential. Unquestionably the most important living avant-garde filmmaker, Brakhage single-handedly transformed the schism separating the avant-garde from classical filmmaking into a chasm. And the ultimate consequences have yet to be resolved; his films appear nearly as radical today as the day he made them.

Brakhage was born in 1933, and made his first film, Interim (1952), at 19. Notably prolific, he has completed several films most years since. To date, his filmography lists over 300 titles, ranging in length from a few seconds to several hours.

Born in Kansas City, Missouri, attended high school in Central City, Colorado. He briefly attended Dartmouth College then left for San Francisco, where he enrolled at the California School of Fine Arts (now the San Francisco Art Institute). He had hoped to study under Sidney Peterson., but unfortunately, Peterson had left the school and the film program was no more, so Brakhage moved on.

Like Deren, Brakhage came to understand film through poetry, and his earliest films do resemble those of Deren and her contemporaries. The early American avant-garde filmmakers tended to borrow liberally from the German Expressionists and Surrealists: mannered acting, symbolism/non sequitur, non-naturalistic lighting and psychosexual themes were common. Still fundamentally story-oriented, these films tend to use a loose, non-linear narrative and dramatic situations to establish metaphorical relationships between images. Deren’s films are closest to those of the Surrealists: though she rejects their often cynical nihilism, her films are steeped in portentous Freudian symbolism.

Brakhage’s early films are more primal. There is no evidence of the Expressionist-inspired preciousness of the pre-WWII American avant-garde filmmakers, and his invocation of Freudian ideas, while omnipresent, is much blunter than Deren’s. For Deren’s cerebral idealism, Brakhage substitutes a rawer, psychologized version of reality. Many of Brakhage’s films from this period are very good, but they are overshadowed today by the films they begat.

While Brakhage’s early films stress psychological themes–the conflict between wish-dream and reality, for example–and retain a strongly dramatic element, they provide frequent glimpses of the formal leap that soon followed.

Despite a rapidly deepening reservoir of ideas, avant-garde film retained a strong connection to the commercial cinema. European avant-garde filmmakers had long made liberal use of photographic effects and trick photography. But nothing they did formally was at all unfamiliar to the commercial cinema, which was quick to pick up on their ideas. But if strange photographic effects are one thing, turning celluloid into a plastic medium was something else altogether.

Brakhage was among the first filmmakers to physically alter the filmstrip itself for metaphorical effect. The most striking example of this technique in his early films occurs in Reflections on Black (1955), which imagines the dream-vision of a blind man as he walks through a city, climbs the stairs of his apartment building and arrives home. Brakhage signals the blindness of his protagonist by physically scratching out his eyes, and splices in bits of film negative to convey the sense of experience the world as a blind man might, not as something seen, but something pictured.

Shortly before making Reflections of Black, Brakhage moved to New York City. That same year, the film critic Parker Tyler introduced Brakhage to Joseph Cornell, who commissioned him to shoot a film of the soon to be dismantled Third Avenue El. Working for the first time without actors or plot, Brakhage began to focus on the expressive qualities of the medium itself. The film which resulted, Wonder Ring (1955), represents Brakhage’s first step toward his radical reconception of the cinema. There is no story, no protagonist, no linear narrative other than the train itself, traveling endlessly along its track. It is a perfect expression of the world defined by the train, and a peculiarly apposite metaphor for the bare logic of narrative itself.

Imagine an eye unruled by man-made laws of perspective, an eye unprejudiced by compositional logic, and eye which does not respond to the name of everything but which must know each object encountered in life through an adventure of perception. How many colors are there in a field of grass to the crawling baby unaware of ‘Green’? How many rainbows can light create for the untutored eye? How aware of variations in heat waves can that eye be? Imagine a world alive with incomprehensible objects and shimmering with an endless variety of movement and innumerable gradations of color. Imagine a world before the ‘beginning was the word.’

With this opening paragraph to his seminal manifesto Metaphors on Vision, Brakhage called into being an entirely new kind of cinema, where none had existed previously. Suddenly, an epistemological question loomed where none had before: What is the nature of the relationship between the moving image and the world, and how might it be represented? Brakhage intended to film not the world itself, but the act of seeing the world. The vast majority of Brakhage’s films are entirely silent. When you watch his films, you are asked to look, and look closely. Where his predecessors used metaphor as a means of relating images to one another, Brakhage’s films were themselves expressions of a single, great metaphor: visual perception.

These questions were by no means unique to Brakhage–they were in fact the catalyst for modern art–but he was the first to realize their implications for the cinema in a body of truly great works of art. In Anticipation of the Night (1958), one sees Brakhage’s first clearly articulated expression of his concept of the vision of the ‘untutored eye.’ While retaining the barest elements of narrative, in this work Brakhage entirely dispenses with the drama, in order to better capture raw experience. The ‘shooting script’ for the 40 minute film consists of a list of 16 concepts, rather than specific shots. Where his earlier films approximated dreams, Anticipation of the Night captures the dreamlike quality of raw experience, the world as it happens and is taken in and understood, willy-nilly.

While making Anticipation of the Night, Brakhage married Jane Collum, who was to become his muse, and the primary subject of his films for many years. Easily the best known of these is Window, Water, Baby, Moving (1959), a document of Jane’s pregnancy and the birth of their first child. Family, and the rituals of family life, became the predominant themes of Brakhage’s films for many years. Birth, sex, and death are the three touchstones of all of his films. In Thigh, Line, Lyre, Triangular (1961), Brakhage again documents the birth of one of his children, and their passage through infancy and childhood is a consistent theme. Several of Brakhage’s films focus on sexual relations, not only between a man and wife, but among friends, and the proto-sexual aspects of childhood. In other films he examines the rituals surrounding death and the body which remains after the being has departed. Sirius Remembered (1959), which documents the gradual dissolution of the corpse of the family dog, and The Dead (1960), made in Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris, prefigure several later films which return to this same theme.

Dog Star Man

Brakhage’s most ambitious projects of the early ’60s were Dog Star Man (1961-64) and The Art of Vision (1961-64), essentially one film articulated two different ways. Dog Star Man definitively marks the transition from a lyrical style, centered on individual experience, to a more epic style, with a focus on broad metaphysical themes. Roughly speaking, the film expresses a mythic conception of the struggle and fall of Man. Made in four parts, with a prelude, Dog Star Man incorporates many layers of superimposition and a dense, rapid editing pattern. The Art of Vision consists of exactly the same material as Dog Star Man, but separates the superimposed reels of film in various combinations. As the elements of the film gradually build and cascade into one another, one begins to see the connections between the elements more and more clearly, how and why certain themes are repeated, and the simultaneously epic and analytic quality of the film itself.

Since completing The Art of Vision, Brakhage’s films have become consistently more metaphysical. Even his celebrated Pittsburgh trilogy, completed in 1971, which purported to document three city institutions, at its core deals with metaphysical questions of Being. The three films: Eyes, Deus Ex, and The Act of Seeing With One’s Own Eyes, document the police, a hospital and a morgue, respectively. All focus on the mechanics of the body: how it is ordered in life, how it is repaired when broken, and what remains when the person who animates it has perished. The key image of The Act of Seeing With One’s Own Eyes is quite likely the bluntest statement on the human condition ever filmed. In the course of an autopsy, the skin around the scalp is slit with a scalpel, and in preparation for exposing and examining the brain, the face of each cadaver is literally peeled off, like a mask, revealing the raw meat beneath. That image, once seen, will never leave you.

The feature-length The Text of Light (1974) consists entirely of abstracted patterns of light photographed through a thick, deep-green ashtray. Anticipating his non-photographic abstract films of the ’80s and ’90s, it reduces photography to its ratio ultima, the influence of light on photographic emulsion.

…in photographing this ashtray for instance, I’m sitting for hours to get 30 seconds of film. I’m sitting watching what’s happening and clicking a frame, and sitting and watching, and further than that, I had shot several hundred feet and they seemed dead. They didn’t reflect at all my excitement and emotion and feeling. They had no anima in them, except for two or three shots where the lens which was on a tripod, pressed against the desk, had jerked. Those were just random, but what gave me the clue. What I began doing was always holding the camera in hand. For hours. Clicking. Waiting. Seeing what the sun did to the scene. As I saw what was happening in the frame to these little particles of light, changing, I would shoot the camera very slightly.

In recent years, Brakhage has focused largely on painting, scratching and drawing directly on the surface of the film strip itself. In eschewing photography altogether he focuses more directly on the bare act of perception. These films recall the paintings of abstract expressionists like Pollock, Klein, Motherwell and Rothko, and pack the same visceral punch. If you’ve ever stood in front of a great Rothko, and felt yourself falling in, the experience of watching the best of Brakhage’s hand-painted films is very similar.

I now no longer photograph, but rather paint upon clear strips of film – essentially freeing myself from the dilemmas of re-presentation. I aspire to a visual music, a ‘music’ for the eyes (as my films are entirely without sound-tracks these days). Just as a composer can be said to work primarily with ‘musical ideas,’ I can be said to work with the ideas intrinsic to film, which is the only medium capable of making paradigmatic ‘closure’ apropos Primal Sight. A composer most usually creates parallels to the surroundings of the inner ear–the primary thoughts of sounds. I, similarly, now work with the electric synapses of thought to achieve overall cathexis paradigms separate from but ‘at one’ with the inner lights, the Light, at source, of being human.

Stan Brakhage died of cancer on March 8, 2003, in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. The Museum of Modern Art in New York City is in the process of preserving all of his films. His last finished film, Stan’s Window, is a photographed self-portrait. Brakhage left behind the beginning of another film, The Chinese Series, composed of 35mm black leader he had scratched with his fingernails. The film was to end wherever he stopped scratching.

Stan Brakhage


Interim (1952) 25.5 min 16mm

The Boy and the Sea (1953)

Unglassed Windows Cast a Terrible Reflection (1953)

Desistfilm (1954) 7 min 16mm

The Extraordinary Child (1954)

The Way to Shadow Garden (1954) 10 min 16mm

Gnir Rednow (1955-196?) 6 min 16mm (made with Joseph Cornell)

In Between (1955) 10 min 16mm

Reflections on Black (1955) 12 min 16mm

“Tower House” (photographed for Joseph Cornell under working titles Bolts of Melody and Portrait of Julie; finally became Cornell’s Centuries of June, 1955-196?) 11 min 16mm

Untitled Film of Geoffery Holder’s Wedding (1955) made with Larry Jordan

Wonder Ring (1955)

Flesh of Morning (1956/1986) 25 min 16mm

Nightcats (1956) 8 min 16mm

Zone Moment (1956)

Daybreak and Whiteye (1957) 8 min 16mm

Loving (1957) 6 min 16mm

Anticipation of the Night (1958) 42 min 16mm

Cat’s Cradle (1959) 6 min 16mm

Sirius Remembered (1959) 12 min 16mm

Wedlock House: An Intercourse (1959) 11 min 16mm

Window, Water, Baby, Moving (1959) 12 min 16mm

The Dead (1960) 11 min 16mm

Dog Star Man: Prelude (1961) 25 mins

Thigh, Line, Lyre, Triangular (1961) 5 min 16mm

Blue Moses (1962) 11 min 16mm

Dog Star Man: Part I (1962) 30 mins

Films by Stan Brakhage: An Avant-Garde Home Movie (1962) 4 min 16mm

Silent Sound Sense Stars Subotnick and Sender (1962)

Dog Star Man: Part II (1963) 7 mins


“Meat Jewel” (incorporated into Dog Star Man: Part II, 1963)

Mothlight (1963) 4 min 16mm

Oh Life–A Woe Story–The A Test News (1963) 5 min 16mm

Dog Star Man: Part III (1964) 11 mins

Dog Star Man: Part IV (1964) 5 mins

Song I (1964) 4 min 8mm

Songs II & III (1964) 7 min 8mm

Song IV (1964) 4 min 8mm

Song V (1964) 7 min 8mm

Songs VI & VII (1964) 7 min 8mm

Song VIII (1964) 4 min 8mm

The Art of Vision (derived from Dog Star Man, 1965)

Black Vision (1965) 2:45 min

Fire of Waters (1965) 10 min 16mm

Pasht (1965) 5 min 16mm

Songs IX & X (1965) 10 min 8mm

Song XI (1965) 6 min 8mm

Song XII (1965) 6 min 8mm

Song XIII (1965) 6 min 8mm

Song XIV (1965) 3 min 8mm

Song XVI (1965) 8 min 8mm

Songs XVII & XVIII (1965) 7 min 8mm

A strip from Dog Star Man

Songs XIX & XX (1965) 8 min 8mm

Three Films: Blue White, Blood’s Tone, Vein (1965) 10 min 16mm

Two: Creeley/McClure (1965) 5 min 16mm (also incorporated in 15 Song Traits)

Songs XXI & XXII (1966) 8 min 8mm

23rd Psalm Branch: Part I (1966/78) 30 min 16mm

Songs XXIV & XXV (1967) 10 min 8mm

Song XXVI (1967) 8 min 8mm

XV Song Traits (1967-86) 47 min 16mm

Scenes from Under Childhood Section No.1 (1967) 25 min 16mm

23rd Psalm Branch: Part II and Coda (1967) 30 min 16mm

The Horseman, the Woman, and the Moth (1968) 26 min 16mm

Lovemaking (1968)

My Mountain Song 27 (1968) 26 min

Song XXVIII (1968) 4 min 8mm

American 30’s Song (1969)

Scenes from Under Childhood Section No.2 (1969) 40 min 16mm

Scenes from Under Childhood Section No.3 (1969) 25 min 16mm

Song XXVII (Part II) Rivers (1969) 36 min

Song XXIX (1969) 4 min 8mm

Window Suite of Children’s Songs (1969)

The Animals of Eden and After (1970) 35 min 16mm

The Machine of Eden (1970) 14 min 16mm

Scenes from Under Childhood Section No.4 (1970) 45 min 16mm

Sexual Meditation No. 1: Motel (1970) 6 min 8mm, (1980) 16mm

The Weir-Falcon Saga (1970) 30 min 16mm

The Act of Seeing With One’s Own Eyes (1971) 32 min 16mm

Angels (1971) 2 min 16mm

Deus Ex (1971) 35 min 16mm

Door (1971) 2 min 16mm

Eyes (1971) 35 min 16mm

Fox Fire Child Watch (1971) 3 min 16mm

The Peaceable Kingdom (1971) 8 min 16mm

Sexual Meditation: Room with View (1971) 4 min 16mm

The Trip to Door (1971)

Western History (1971) 8 min 16mm

Eye Myth (1972) begun in 1968 as sketch for The Horseman, The Woman and The Moth, 16mm version)

The Presence (1972) 3.5 min 16mm

Brakhage hand-painting films

The Process (1972) 13.5 min 16mm

The Riddle of Lumen (1972) 17 min 16mm

Sexual Meditation: Faun’s Room Yale (1972) 3 min 16mm

Sexual Meditation: Hotel (1972) 8 min 16mm

Sexual Meditation: Office Suite (1972) 4 min 16mm

Sexual Meditation: Open Field (1972) 8 min 16mm

The Shores of Phos: A Fable (1972) 10 min 16mm

The Wold Shadow (1972) 16mm

Gift (1973)

Sincerity I (1973) 27 min 16mm

The Women (1973)

Aquarien (1974) 5 min 16mm

Clancy (1974) 4.5 min 16mm

Dominion (1974) 4 min 16mm

Flight (1974) 5.5 min 16mm

“He Was Born, He Suffered, He Died” (1974) 7.5 min 16mm

Hymn to Her (1974) 2.5 min 16mm

Skein (1974) 5 min 16mm

Sol (1974) 4 min 16mm

Star Garden (1974) 22 min 16mm

The Stars Are Beautiful (1974) 19 min 16mm

The Text of Light (1974) 71 min 16mm

Short Films 1975 #1-10 (1975) 40 min 16mm
#1 2:45 min 16mm
#2 2:45 min 16mm
#3 1:45min 16mm
#4 1:45 min 16mm
#5 2:45 min 16mm
#6 6 min 16mm
#7 3 min 16mm
#8 2.5 min 16mm
#9 6 min 16mm
#10 6 min 16mm

Sincerity II (1975) 40 min 16mm

Absence (1976) 8 min S8mm

Airs (1976) 20 min S8mm (also 16mm)

The Dream, NYC, The Return, The Flower (1976) 24.5 min S8mm (also 16mm)

Desert (1976) S8mm (also 16mm)

Gadflies (1976) 12.5 min S8mm (also 16mm)

Highs (1976) 16.5 min S8mm (also 16mm)

Rembrandt, Etc. and Jane (1976) 17.5 min S8mm

Short Films: 1976 (1976) 25 min 16mm

Tragoedia (1976) 35 min 16mm

Trio (1976) 6.5 min S8mm (also 16mm)

Window (1976) 10.5 min S8mm (also 16mm)

The Domain of the Moment (1977) 18 min 16mm

The Governor (1977) 60 min 16mm

Soldiers and Other Cosmic Objects (1977) 20:45min 16mm

Bird (1978) 4 min 16min

Burial Path (1978) 15 min 16mm

Centre (1978) 13 min 16mm

Duplicity (1978) 23 min 16mm

Duplicity II (1978) 20 min 16mm

Nightmare Series (1978) 20 min 16mm

Purity and After (1978) 5 min 16mm

Sincerity III (1978) 35 min 16mm

A frame from Creation. These and the stills below are from Fred Camper's Brakhage stills page, where they and others can be found in higher-resolution versions.

Sluice (1978) 6 min 16mm

Thot Fal’n (1978) 9 min 16mm

@ (1979) 6 min 16mm

Creation (1979) 17 min 16mm

Roman Numeral Series: I (1979) 6 min 16mm

Roman Numeral Series: II (1979) 7 min 16mm

Arabic 1 (1980) 5.5 min 16mm

Arabic 2 (1980) 7 min 16mm

Arabic 3 (1980) 10.5 min 16mm

Duplicity III (1980) 30 min

Made Manifest (1980) 12 min 16mm

Murder Psalm (1980) 16 min 16mm

Other (1980) 16mm

Roman Numeral Series: III (1980) 2 min 16mm

Roman Numeral Series: IV (1980) 2 min 16mm

Roman Numeral Series: V (1980) 3 min 16mm

Roman Numeral Series: VI (1980) 13 min 16mm

Roman Numeral Series: VII (1980) 5 min 16mm

Roman Numeral Series: VIII (1980) 4 min 16mm

Roman Numeral Series: IX (1980) 2 min 16mm

Salome (1980) 3 min

Aftermath (1981) 8 min 16mm

Arabic 4 (1981) 10 min 16mm

Arabic 5 (1981) 5 min 16mm

Arabic 6 (1981) 11 min 16mm

Arabic 7 (1981) 11 min 16mm

Arabic 8 (1981) 7 min 16mm

Arabic 9 (1981) 12 min 16mm

Arabic 0+10 (1981) 32 min 16mm

Arabic 11 (1981) 10.5 min 16mm

Arabic 12 (1981) 27 min 16mm

Arabic 13 (1981) 5 min 16mm

Arabic 14 (1981) 5.5 min 16mm

Arabic 15 (1981) 7.5 min 16mm

Arabic 16 (1981) 8.5 min 16mm

A strip from "existence is song". Part of the last of four sections of The Dante Quartet (1987).

Arabic 17 (1981) 8 min 16mm

Arabic 18 (1981) 8.5 min 16mm

Arabic 19 (1981) 9 min 16mm

Eye Myth (1981) original 35mm version

The Garden of Earthly Delights (1981) 2.5 min 16mm

Nodes (1981) 3 min 16mm

RR (1981) 8 min 16mm

Unconscious London Strata (1981) 22 min 16mm

Egyptian Series (1983) 17 min 16mm

Hell Spit Flexion (1983) 1 min 16mm

Tortured Dust (1984) 88.5 min 16mm

Tortured Dust (Part I-IV) (1984) 90 min 16mm

Jane (1985) 13 min 16mm

Caswallon Trilogy (1986) 10 min 16mm

Confession (1986) 27 min 16mm

Fireloop (1986)

The Loom (1986) 50 min 16mm

Night Music (1986) 30 sec 16mm

The Dante Quartet (1987) 8 min 16mm

Faustfilm: An Opera: Part 1 (1987) 50 min 16mm

Kindering (1987) 3 min 16mm

Faust 3: Candida Albacore (1988) 25 min 16mm

Faust’s Other: An Idyll (1988) 45 min 16mm

I . . . Dreaming (1988) 8 min 16mm

Loud Visual Noises (1988) 2.5 min 16mm (also a sound version)

Marilyn’s Window (1988) 4 min 16mm

Matins (1988) 2.5 min 16mm

Rage Net (1988) 30 sec 16mm

Visions in Meditation #1 (1988) 20 min 16mm

Babylon Series #1 (1989) 6 min 16mm

Faust 4 (1989) 36 min 16mm

Visions in Meditation #2: Mesa Verde (1989) 17 min 16mm

Babylon Series #2 (1990) 5 min 16mm

Babylon Series #3 (1990) 6 min 16mm

City Streaming (1990) 25 min 16mm

Glaze of Cathexis (1990) 30 sec 16mm

Passage Through: A Ritual (1990) 33 min 16mm

The Thatch of Night (1990) 10 min 16mm

Visions in Meditation #3: Plato’s Cave (1990) 18 min 16mm

Visions in Meditation #4: D.H. Lawrence (1990) 19 min 16mm

Agnus Dei Kinder Synapse (1991) 4.5 min 16mm

A Child’s Garden and the Serious Sea (1991) 80 min 16mm

Christ Mass Sex Dance (1991) 5.5 min 16mm

Delicacies of Molton Horror Synapse (1991) 10 min 16mm

Vision of the Fire Tree (1991) 16mm

Boulder Blues and Pearls and . . . (1992) 20 min 16mm

Crack Glass Eulogy (1992) 6 min 16mm

Untitled (For Marilyn) (1992) 11 min 16mm

Autumnal (1993) 5 min 16mm

Blossom: Gift/Favor (1993) 30 sec 16mm

Ephemeral Solidity (1993) 4.5 min 16mm

The Harrowing (1993) 3 min 16mm

Stellar (1993) 2.5 min 16mm

Study in Color and Black and White (1993) 2.5 min 16mm

Three Homerics (1993) 6 min 16mm

Tryst Haunt (1993) 3 min 16mm

Black Ice (1994) 2.5 min 16mm

Cannot Exist (1994) 2 min 16mm

Cannot Not Exist (1994) 10 min 16mm

Chartres Series (1994) 9 min 16mm

Elementary Phases (1994) 38 min 16mm (made with Phil Solomon)

A strip from ...Reel Two (1998)

First Hymn to the Night–Novalis (1994) 3 min 16mm

The Mammals of Victoria (1994) 30 min 16mm

Naughts (1994) 5.5 min 16min

Paranoia Corridore (1994) 3 min 16mm

Earthen Aerie (1995) 2.5 min 16mm

I Take These Truths (1995) 35 min 16mm

I . . . (1995) 40 min 16mm

In Consideration of Pompeii (1995) 5 min 16mm

We Hold These (1995) 12 min 16mm

Beautiful Funerals (1996)

Blue Value (1996)

Concrescence (1996)

The Fur of Home (1996)

Polite Madness (1996)

Prelude 1 (1996)

Prelude 2 (1996)

Prelude 3 (1996)

Prelude 4 (1996)

Prelude 5 (1996)

Prelude 6 (1996)

Prelude 7 (1996)

Prelude 8 (1996)

Prelude 9 (1996)

Prelude 10 (1996)

Prelude 11 (1996)

Prelude 12 (1996)

Prelude 13 (1996)

Prelude 14 (1996)

Prelude 15 (1996)

Prelude 16 (1996)

Prelude 17 (1996)

Prelude 18 (1996)

Prelude 19 (1996)

Prelude 20 (1996)

Prelude 21 (1996)

Prelude 22 (1996)

Prelude 23 (1996)

Prelude 24 (1996)

Sexual Saga (1996)

Shockingly Hot (1996)

Two Found Objects of Charles Boultenhouse (1996)

The Cat of the Worm’s Green Realm (1997)

Commingled Containers (1997)

Divertimento (1997)

Self Song/Death Song (1997)

Yggdrasill: Whose Roots Are Stars in the Human Mind (1997)

…Reel One (1998)

…Reel Two (1998)

…Reel Three (1998)

…Reel Four (1998)

…Reel Five (1999)

Female Mystique and Spare Leaves (1998)

Alternating Currents (1999)

The Birds of Paradise (1999)

Cloud Chamber (1999)

Coupling (1999)

Cricket Requiem (1999)

A strip from ...Reel Two (1998)

The Dark Tower (1999)

The Earthsong of the Cricket (1999)

The Lion and the Zebra Make God’s Raw Jewels (1999)

Moilsome Toilsome (1999)

Persian Series #1 (1999)

Persian Series #2 (1999)

Persian Series #3 (1999)

Persian Series #4 (1999)

Persian Series #5 (1999)

Seasons… (1999)

Stately Mansions Did Decree (1999)

Worm and Web Love (1999)

Dance (2000)

The God of Day Had Gone Down Upon Him (2000)

Persian Series #10 (2000)

Persian Series #11 (2000)

Persian Series #6 (2000)

Persian Series #7 (2000)

Persian Series #8 (2000)

Persian Series #9 (2000)

Water for Maya (2000)

Baby Jesus (2001)

Christ on Cross (2001)

In Jesus Name (2001)

Jesus Wept (2001)

Micro-Garden (2001)

Rounds (2001)

Persian Series #13 (2001)

Persian Series #14 (2001)

Persian Series #15 (2001)

Persian Series #16 (2001)

Persian Series #17 (2001)

Persian Series #18 (2001)

Lovesong (2001)

Lovesong 2 (2001)

Occam’s Thread (2001)

Ascension (2002)

Dark Night of the Soul (2002)

Lovesong 3 (2002)

Lovesong 4 (2002)

Lovesong 5 (2002)

Lovesong 6 (2002)

Stan’s Window (2003)

Work in Progress (2003)

Chinese Series (2003)

Water for Maya (2003)

Coupling (2003)

Select Bibliography

Gerald R. Barrett & Wendy Brabner, Stan Brakhage: A Guide to References and Resources, G.K. Hall, 1983

Stan Brakhage, Metaphors on Vision, Arthouse Inc., 1976 (second edition)

Stan Brakhage, The Brakhage lectures: Georges Mâeliáes, David Wark, Griffith, Carl Theodor Dreyer, Sergei Eisenstein, The Good Lion, 1972

Stan Brakhage, Film at Wit’s End: Eight Avant-Garde Filmmakers, McPherson & Co., 1989

Stan Brakhage & Tamarra Kaida, I–Sleeping: Being a Dream Journal and Parenthetical Explication, Visual Studies Workshop Press, 1989

R. Bruce Elder, The Films of Stan Brakhage in the American Tradition of Ezra Pound, Gertrude Stein & Charles Olsen, Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1999

Suranjan Ganguly, “All that is light: Brakhage at 60” (interview), Sight & Sound, 3, 20-23, 1993

David James, Allegories of Cinema, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1989

Bruce McPherson (ed.), Essential Brakhage, New York: Documentext, 2001

Randy Roark, Dissolve: Screenplays to the Films of Stan Brakhage: A Book of Poems, City Press, 2002

P. Adams Sitney, Visionary Film, New York: Oxford University Press, 1974

Phillip Taafe, Composite Nature: A Conversation With Stan Brakhage, Blumarts, 1998

Articles in Senses of Cinema

Tracing an Original and the Law of Diminishing Returns: Brakhage by Dirk de Bruyn

Across the Universe: Stan Brakhage’s The Dante Quartet by Adrian Danks

Daybreak and Whiteye by Martin Rumsby

Desistfilm by Darragh O’Donoghue

Putting the Garden Into the Machine: On The Garden of Earthly Delights by Karli Lukas

I… Dreaming by Malcolm Cook

Mothlight by Darragh O’Donoghue

The Wold Shadow by Martin Rumsby

Web Resources

Compiled by author and Albert Fung.

Film Directors: Articles on the Internet
Links to quite a few articles here. Just scroll down.

Stan Brakhage on the Web
Lots of useful information at Fred Camper’s website. Comprehensive.

Click here to search for Stan Brakhage DVDs, videos and books at

About The Author

Brian L. Frye is a filmmaker, journalist and lawyer living in Fairbanks, Alaska.

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