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Chartres Series

Stan Brakhage

USA, 1994
9 minutes, colour, Silent
Available formats: 16mm

‘A year and a half ago the filmmaker Nick Dworski, hearing I was going to France, insisted I must see Chartres Cathedral. I, who had for years studied picture books of its great stained-glass windows, sculpture and architecture, having also read Henry Adams’ great book three times, willingly complied and had an experience of several hours (in the discreet company of French filmmaker Jean-Michel Bouhours) which surely transformed my aesthetics more than any other single experience.

Then Marilyn’s sister died; and I, who could not attend the funeral, sat down alone and began painting on film one day, this death in mind… Chartres in mind. Eight months later the painting was completed on four little films which comprise a suite in homage to Chartres and dedicated to Wendy Jull. (My thanks to Sam Bush of Western Cine who collaborated with me on this, much as if I were a composer who handed him a painted score, so to speak, and a few instructions – a mediaeval manuscript, one might say – and he were the musician who played it.)’ – S.B.