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Anticipation of the Night

Stan Brakhage

USA, 1958
43 minutes, Colour, Silent
Available formats: 16mm

The daylight shadows of a man in its movement evokes lights in the night. A rose bowl held in hand reflects both the sun and moon like illumination. The opening of a doorway onto trees anticipates the twilight into the night. A child is born on the lawn, born of water with its promissory rainbow, and the wild rose. It becomes the moon and the source of all light. Lights of the night become young children playing a circular game. The moon moves over a pillared temple to which all lights return. There is seen the sleep of innocents in their animal dreams becoming the amusement, their circular game, becoming the morning. The trees change colour and lose their leaves for the morn, they become the complexity of branches in which the shadow man hangs himself. – S.B.’… a film in the first person. The protagonist, like the members of the audience, is a voyeur, and his eventual suicide is a result of his inability to participate in the ‘untutored’ seeing experience of a child. Anticipation consists of a flow of colours and shapes which constantly intrigues us by placing the unknown object next to the known in a significant relationship, by metamorphosing one visual statement into another. Whenever Brakhage shows a shot for the second time, it gains new meaning through its new context and in relation to the material that has passed during the interval.’ – P.Adams Sitney.