Dog Star Man
Dog Star Man is a series of short experimental films, all directed by Stan Brakhage, featuring Jane Wodening. It comprises a prelude and four parts. Described as a "cosmological epic" and "creation myth", Dog Star Man illustrates the odyssey of a bearded woodsman climbing through a snow-covered mountain with his dog to chop down a tree. While doing so, he witnesses various mystical visions with various recurring imagery such as a woman, child and the cosmos while making his ascent; the five short films all form one larger film, they are always shown together as one film. In 1965, Brakhage used the same footage from Dog Star Man and re-edited it into a much longer film, The Art of Vision. Both are considered the greatest works of his first mature period; the entire film was named to the National Film Registry in 1992. Below are the individual films of the series and their release dates: Prelude: Dog Star Man Dog Star Man: Part I Dog Star Man: Part II Dog Star Man: Part III Dog Star Man: Part IV The film is part of the by Brakhage: an Anthology collection DVD from The Criterion Collection.
After editing and completing Cat's Cradle, Brakhage began filming Dog Star Man. At the time when he began work on the project, Brakhage had not set on any particular idea on what the project would be about. In addition to this, he had faced different sets of crisis including the questioning of his distant relationship with his wife Jane at the time, experiencing visions, contemplations of death and decay; the filming of Dog Star Man took on as Brakhage worked on The Dead. Since he commissioned the idea of the project, Brakhage had had a prelude and four parts in mind. Dog Star Man, like Brakhage's other works, is characterized and known for their abstract imagery and techniques such as scratching and punching holes into the film. While the work is considered difficult and unorthodox by many, there is a general structure to the narrative of the film cycle that comprises the prelude and four parts; the opening of Dog Star Man is entitled Prelude and runs at around 26 minutes, making it one of the longer parts of the film cycle.
Brakhage described the Prelude as a "created dream" for the film as opposed to Surrealism in which the work itself is inspired by the dream of the artist. In it, the Prelude contains many of the images that recur throughout the rest of the film series, creating a visual leitmotif of the many symbols and concepts of the series of films. There are many instances to what Brakhage calls "close-eyed vision". Broadly, the Prelude exemplifies, among other things, the creation of the universe; the longest of the film cycle, running at about 30 minutes, Part I comprises most of the narrative of the film cycle in which the woodsman struggles with his journey up the mountain along with his dog. Unlike the Prelude, where there are many instances of superimposed images that are more abstract to the eye, Part I is more impressionistic. Major parts of the film are in slow-motion. One of the most important images in Part I is the mountain. In contrast to the lengthy running times of the earlier films, Part II begins a series of shorter segments that run from around 5–7 minutes.
Its central focus is on the birth of a child, filmed on black and white film stock as a part of Brakhage's home videos that he shot during the time. Two layers of imagery are imposed over one another, suggesting that the woodsman's life is passing right before his eyes. Description of Brakhage's work. Prelude: Dog Star Man on IMDb Dog Star Man: Part I on IMDb Dog Star Man: Part II on IMDb Dog Star Man: Part III on IMDb Dog Star Man: Part IV on IMDb
Experimental film, experimental cinema or avant-garde cinema is a mode of filmmaking that rigorously re-evaluates cinematic conventions and explores non-narrative forms and alternatives to traditional narratives or methods of working. Many experimental films early ones, relate to arts in other disciplines: painting, dance and poetry, or arise from research and development of new technical resources. While some experimental films have been distributed through mainstream channels or made within commercial studios, the vast majority have been produced on low budgets with a minimal crew or a single person and are either self-financed or supported through small grants. Experimental filmmakers begin as amateurs, some used experimental films as a springboard into commercial film making or transitioned into academic positions; the aim of experimental filmmaking is to render the personal vision of an artist, or to promote interest in new technology rather than to entertain or to generate revenue, as is the case with commercial films.
The term describes a range of filmmaking styles that are quite different from, opposed to, the practices of mainstream commercial and documentary filmmaking. Avant-garde is used, for the films shot in the twenties in the field of history's avant-gardes currents in France, Germany or Russia, to describe this work, "underground" was used in the sixties, though it has had other connotations. Today the term "experimental cinema" prevails, because it's possible to make experimental films without the presence of any avant-garde movement in the cultural field. While "experimental" covers a wide range of practice, an experimental film is characterized by the absence of linear narrative, the use of various abstracting techniques—out-of-focus, painting or scratching on film, rapid editing—the use of asynchronous sound or the absence of any sound track; the goal is to place the viewer in a more active and more thoughtful relationship to the film. At least through the 1960s, to some extent after, many experimental films took an oppositional stance toward mainstream culture.
Most such films are made on low budgets, self-financed or financed through small grants, with a minimal crew or a crew of only one person, the filmmaker. Some critics have argued that much experimental film is no longer in fact "experimental" but has in fact become a mainstream film genre. Many of its more typical features—such as a non-narrative, impressionistic, or poetic approaches to the film's construction—define what is understood to be "experimental". Two conditions made Europe in the 1920s ready for the emergence of experimental film. First, the cinema matured as a medium, highbrow resistance to the mass entertainment began to wane. Second, avant-garde movements in the visual arts flourished; the Dadaists and Surrealists in particular took to cinema. René Clair's Entr'acte featuring Francis Picabia, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, with music by Erik Satie, took madcap comedy into nonsequitur. Artists Hans Richter, Jean Cocteau, Marcel Duchamp, Germaine Dulac, Viking Eggeling all contributed Dadaist/Surrealist shorts.
Fernand Léger, Dudley Murphy, Man Ray created the film Ballet Mécanique, sometimes described as Dadaist, Cubist, or Futurist. Duchamp created the abstract film Anémic Cinéma. Alberto Cavalcanti directed Rien que les heures, Walter Ruttmann directed Berlin: Symphony of a Metropolis, Dziga Vertov filmed Man With a Movie Camera, experimental "city symphonies" of Paris and Kiev, respectively; the most famous experimental film is considered to be Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí's Un chien andalou. Hans Richter's animated shorts, Oskar Fischinger's abstract films, Len Lye's GPO films would be excellent examples of more abstract European avant-garde films. Working in France, another group of filmmakers financed films through patronage and distributed them through cine-clubs, yet they were narrative films not tied to an avant-garde school. Film scholar David Bordwell has dubbed these French Impressionists, included Abel Gance, Jean Epstein, Marcel L'Herbier, Dimitri Kirsanoff; these films combine narrative experimentation, rhythmic editing and camerawork, an emphasis on character subjectivity.
In 1952, the Lettrists avant-garde movement in France, caused riots at the Cannes Film Festival, when Isidore Isou's Traité de bave et d'éternité was screened. After their criticism of Charlie Chaplin at the 1952 press conference in Paris for Chaplin's Limelight, there was a split within the movement; the Ultra-Lettrists continued to cause disruptions when they announced the death of cinema and showed their new hypergraphical techniques. The Soviet filmmakers, found a counterpart to modernist painting and photography in their theories of montage; the films of Dziga Vertov, Sergei Eisenstein, Lev Kuleshov, Alexander Dovzhenko, Vsevolod Pudovkin were instrumental in providing an alternative model from that offered by classical Hollywood. While not experimental films per se, they contributed to the film language of the avant-garde; the U. S. had some avant-garde films before World War II, such as Manhatta by Charles Sheeler and Paul Strand, The Life and Death of 9413: a Hollywood Extra by Slavko Vorkapich and Robert Florey.
However, much pre-war experimental film culture consisted of artists working in isolation, on film projects. Painter Emlen Etting directed dance films in the early 1930s. Commercial artist and
A leitmotif or leitmotiv is a "short recurring musical phrase" associated with a particular person, place, or idea. It is related to the musical concepts of idée fixe or motto-theme; the spelling leitmotif is an anglicization of the German Leitmotiv meaning "leading motif", or "guiding motif". A musical motif has been defined as a "short musical idea... melodic, harmonic, or rhythmic, or all three", a salient recurring figure, musical fragment or succession of notes that has some special importance in or is characteristic of a composition: "the smallest structural unit possessing thematic identity."In particular, such a motif should be "clearly identified so as to retain its identity if modified on subsequent appearances" whether such modification be in terms of rhythm, orchestration or accompaniment. It may be "combined with other leitmotifs to suggest a new dramatic condition" or development; the technique is notably associated with the operas of Richard Wagner, most his Der Ring des Nibelungen, although he was not its originator and did not employ the word in connection with his work.
Although a short melody, it can be a chord progression or a simple rhythm. Leitmotifs can help to bind a work together into a coherent whole, enable the composer to relate a story without the use of words, or to add an extra level to an present story. By association, the word has been used to mean any sort of recurring theme, in literature, or the life of a fictional character or a real person, it is sometimes used in discussion of other musical genres, such as instrumental pieces and video game music, sometimes interchangeably with the more general category of theme. The use of characteristic, recurring motifs in orchestral music can be traced back to the early seventeenth century, such as L'Orfeo by Monteverdi. In French opera of the late eighteenth century, "reminiscence motif" can be identified, which may recur at a significant juncture in the plot to establish an association with earlier events, their use, however, is not systematic. The power of the technique was exploited early in the nineteenth century by composers of Romantic opera, such as Carl Maria von Weber, where recurring themes or ideas were sometimes used in association with specific characters.
The first use of the word leitmotif in print was by the critic Friedrich Wilhelm Jähns in describing Weber's work, although this was not until 1871. Motifs figured in purely instrumental music of the Romantic period; the related idea of the musical idée fixe was coined by Hector Berlioz in reference to his Symphonie fantastique. This purely instrumental, programmatic work features a recurring melody representing the object of the artist's obsessive affection and depicting her presence in various real and imagined situations. Though not corresponding to the strict definition of leitmotiv, several of Verdi's operas feature similar thematic tunes introduced in the overtures or preludes, recurring to mark the presence of a character or to invoke a particular sentiment. In La forza del destino, the opening theme of the overture recurs whenever Leonora feels guilt or fear. In Il Trovatore, the theme of the first aria by Azucena is repeated whenever she invokes the horror of how her mother was burnt alive and the devastating revenge she attempted then.
In Don Carlo, there are at least three leitmotivs that recur across the five acts: the first is associated with the poverty and suffering from war, the second is associated with prayers around the tomb of Carlos V, the third is introduced as a duet between Don Carlo and the Marquis of Posa, thereafter accentuating sentiments of sincere friendship and loyalty. Richard Wagner is the earliest composer most associated with the concept of leitmotif, his cycle of four operas, Der Ring des Nibelungen, uses hundreds of leitmotifs related to specific characters, things, or situations. While some of these leitmotifs occur in only one of the operas, many recur throughout the entire cycle. Wagner had raised the issue of how music could best unite disparate elements of the plot of a music drama in his essay "Opera and Drama"; some controversy surrounded the use of the word in Wagner's own circle: Wagner never authorised the use of the word leitmotiv, using words such as "Grundthema", or "Motiv". His preferred name for the technique was Hauptmotiv, which he first used in 1877.
The word gained currency with the overly literal interpretations of Wagner's music by Hans von Wolzogen, who in 1876 published a Leitfaden to the Ring. In it he claimed to have isolated and named all of the recurring motifs in the cycle leading to absurdities or contradictions with Wagner's actual practice; some of the motifs he identified began to appear in the published musical scores of the operas, arousing Wagner's annoyance. In fact Wagner himself never publicly named any of his leitmotifs, preferring to emphasise their flexibility of association, role in the musical form, emotional effect; the practice of naming leitmotifs con
Cat's Cradle is a science fiction novel by American writer Kurt Vonnegut, first published in 1963. His fourth novel, it explores issues of science and religion, satirizing the arms race and many other targets along the way. After turning down his original thesis in 1947, the University of Chicago awarded Vonnegut his master's degree in anthropology in 1971 for Cat's Cradle; the title of the book derives from the string game "cat's cradle". Early in the book, the character Felix Hoenikker was playing cat's cradle when the bomb was dropped, the game is referred to by his son, Newton Hoenikker. At the opening of the book, the narrator, an everyman named John, describes a time when he was planning to write a book about what important Americans did on the day Hiroshima was bombed. While researching this topic, John becomes involved with the children of Felix Hoenikker, a Nobel laureate physicist who helped develop the atomic bomb. John travels to New York, to interview the Hoenikker children and others for his book.
In Ilium John meets, among others, Dr. Asa Breed, the supervisor "on paper" of Felix Hoenikker; as the novel progresses, John learns of a substance called ice-nine, created by the late Hoenikker and now secretly in the possession of his children. Ice-nine is an alternative structure of water, solid at room temperature; when a crystal of ice-nine contacts liquid water, it becomes a seed crystal that makes the molecules of liquid water arrange themselves into the solid form, ice-nine. Felix Hoenikker's reason to create this substance was to aid in the military's plight of wading through mud and swamp areas while fighting; that is, if ice-nine could reduce the wetness of the areas to a solid form, soldiers could maneuver across without becoming entrapped or slowed. John and the Hoenikker children end up on the fictional Caribbean island of San Lorenzo, one of the poorest countries on Earth, where the people speak a comprehensible creole of English, it is ruled by a dictator, "Papa" Monzano, who threatens all opposition with impalement on a giant hook.
San Lorenzo has an unusual culture and history, which John learns about while studying a guidebook lent to him by the newly appointed US ambassador to the country. He learns about an influential religious movement in San Lorenzo, called Bokononism, a strange, postmodern faith that combines irreverent and cynical observations about life and God's will with odd, but peaceful rituals. Though everyone on the island seems to know much about Bokononism and its founder, the present government calls itself Christian and practicing Bokononism is punishable by death on "the hook." As the story progresses, it becomes clear that San Lorenzo society is more bizarre and cryptic than revealed. In observing the interconnected lives of some of the island's most influential residents, John learns that Bokonon himself was at one point a de facto ruler of the island, along with a US Marine deserter; the two men created Bokononism as part of a utopian project to control the population. The ban was an attempt to give the religion a sense of forbidden glamour, helps draw people's attention away from the economic problems of the country.
It is found that all of the residents of San Lorenzo, including the dictator, practice the faith, executions are rare. When John and the other travelers arrive on the island, they are greeted by "Papa" Monzano, his adopted daughter Mona, around five thousand San Lorenzans, it becomes clear that "Papa" Monzano is ill, he intends to name Franklin Hoenikker his successor. Franklin, who finds it hard to talk with people, is uncomfortable with this arrangement, abruptly hands the presidency to John, who grudgingly accepts. Franklin suggests that John should marry Mona; the dictator uses ice-nine to commit suicide rather than succumb to his inoperable cancer. Consistent with the properties of ice-nine, the dictator's corpse turns into solid ice at room temperature; this is followed by the freezing of Dr Schlichter von Koenigswald, "Papa" Monzano's doctor and a former S. S. Auschwitz physician. John and the Hoenikkers plan to gather the bodies of both Monzano and his physician in order to ritualistically burn them on a funeral pyre, thereby eliminating the traces of ice-nine.
They begin systematically cleansing the room with various heating methods, taking the utmost care not to leave any trace of ice-nine behind. It is here; the Hoenikkers explain that when they were young, their father would riddle them with the concept of ice-nine. One day, they find their father has died taking a break from freezing and unfreezing ice-nine to test its properties. With the sweep of a cloth, Frank Hoenikker collects residual amounts of ice-nine from a cooking pan, as was the various collection and examination methods of their father when creating the substance. A dog licks the cloth and instantly freezes. Witnessing this, the young Hoenikkers deduce the properties of ice-nine, they collectively cannot determine who had what part in gathering the ice-nine, but chunks of the substance were chipped from the cooking pan supply and placed in mason jars later in thermoses. John and the Hoenikkers pause the ice-nine decontamination to attend John's in
Cat's Cradle (film)
Cat's Cradle is an experimental short film by Stan Brakhage, produced in 1959. The film was described by Brakhage as "sexual witchcraft involving two couples and a'medium' cat." Cat's Cradle was filmed in New Jersey. The film features Stan Brakhage and his wife Jane, as well as composer James Tenney and visual artist Carolee Schneemann. Schneemann, who appeared in several Brakhage films, wore an apron at Brakhage's insistence. Despite her friendship with Brakhage, she described the experience as "frightening," remarking that "whenever I collaborated, went into a male friend's film, I always thought I would be able to hold my presence, maintain an authenticity, it was soon gone, lost in their celluloid dominance--a terrifying experience--experiences of true dissolution."The silent film was described by Brakhage as "sexual witchcraft involving two couples and a'medium' cat." The film features shots of the naked bodies that are, according to writer Walter Metz, "edited in such a way that little narrative sense can be gleaned from them.
As the film wears on, however, it becomes clear that the viewer is witnessing some form of domestic conflict and the intimacy that follows it." The editing style includes brief "flash-frames" that interrupt longer shots, a technique that Brakhage would continue to use in such films as Tortured Dust. Paul Arthur, in his essay for The Criterion Collection, wrote that Cat's Cradle "does not suppress our recourse to naming but rather floods our typical eye-brain loop with stimuli for which attached language cues are either less than automatic or, in cases of purely sensory appeal, non-existent." Fred Camper, in another essay for The Criterion Collection, remarked upon the mysteriousness of the four characters' interactions, but was "kept on edge by the rapid intercutting... the viewer is at once encouraged to come up with his own interpretations and prevented from settling on any one idea." The Academy Film Archive preserved Cat's Cradle in 2006. List of American films of 1959 List of avant-garde films of the 1950s Cat's Cradle on IMDb
Window Water Baby Moving
Window Water Baby Moving is an experimental short film by Stan Brakhage, filmed in November 1958 and released in 1959. The film documents the birth of the director's first child, Myrrena, by his then-wife Jane Brakhage, now Jane Wodening. Stan Brakhage's wife, had insisted that Brakhage be present at the birth of their daughter; the hospital gave permission for filming, but this was reneged. Instead, Brakhage transferred the birth to their home, hiring a nurse and some expensive emergency equipment. Jane was "very shy" about being filmed, but relented after Brakhage made "a big dramatic scene and said'All right, let's forget it!'" Most of the film was photographed by Brakhage himself, but Jane took the camera to capture her husband's reactions. Jane Brakhage recalled of the birth: He calls the hospital and gets the nurse who says she'll be right there... Stan starts worrying. I continue panting. Stan stops filming, he gets nervous. He tells me to pant, he needs to relax. I tell him how much I love him and ask him if he's got my face while I'm roaring and this sets him off again and reassures him, he clickety-clackety-buzzes while I roar and pant.
Editing of Window Water Baby Moving took place in the evenings over several months. According to Brakhage, a further delay was caused. Brakhage described the event thus: "When I sent in the film to be processed, Kodak sent a page that said, more or less,'Sign this at the bottom, we will destroy this film. So the doctor wrote a letter, we got the footage back." Brakhage felt that Window Water Baby Moving had insufficiently captured his emotions at the birth of his child, during the birth of his third child, filmed Thigh Line Lyre Triangular as an improvement. Window Water Baby Moving was screened on a double-bill with George C. Stoney's 1953 educational film, All My Babies. Brakhage was worried that his film's frank depiction of childbirth would embroil him in legal trouble, remarking "you could go to jail for showing not only sexuality but nudity of any kind - though the idea of childbirth being somehow pornographic has always been offensive and disgusting to me." Window Water Baby Moving has become one of Brakhage's best-known works.
Critic Archer Winsten described the film as being "so forthright, so full of primitive wonder and love, so far beyond civilization in its acceptance that it becomes an experience like few in the history of movies." Scott MacDonald credits Window Water Baby Moving with making delivery rooms more accessible to fathers, a view with which Brakhage concurs. The Academy Film Archive preserved Window Water Baby Moving in 2013. List of American films of 1959 List of avant-garde films of the 1950s Window Water Baby Moving on IMDb Window Water Baby Moving at Rotten Tomatoes