Stan Brakhage: New Films | Chicago Reader

Stan Brakhage: New Films

A Chicago premiere of films by Stan Brakhage, whose work over a half century has made him the most influential of avant-garde filmmakers. Like most of his recent work, the four films that comprise The Jesus Trilogy and Coda (17 min.) are hand painted onto 16-millimeter film stock and left silent to focus one's attention on the imagery. The “trilogy”—In Jesus Name, The Baby Jesus, and Jesus Wept—is mostly abstract, with hints of blood and flesh, and is sustained largely by rhythm. In the coda, Christ on Cross, moving splotches and scratches keep converging into a cross, an apparition that becomes almost frightening in its suggestion of a God underlying the diversity of perception. The God of Day Had Gone Down Upon Him (2000, 50 min.) is the third of Brakhage's photographed “Vancouver Island films,” in which he constructs an imagery biography of his second wife, Marilyn. All three use extensive imaginary; this one envisions her “midlife crisis,” and while the ocean appears in endless variety, darkness prevails, and many sequences arrive at their modest conclusions with a foreboding finality.

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