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Dog Star Man

Stan Brakhage

USA, 1961 - 1964
51 minutes, colour, silent
Available formats: 16mm

‘Brakhage’s most beautiful film.A masterpiece. Perhaps it is too much a masterpiece for me. It is too great. The mountain of meaning contained by the film gets in the way of simply ‘looking’ at beautiful things happening. However, it is undeniably one of the most important films ever made, and is technically brilliant beyond description.
Dog Star Man is an archetypal exploration of the film maker’s psyche. Brakhage creates a myth of his own personal history from his birth, past relationship to his mother and father, and present relationship to his wife and son. His myth is seen in a cosmic context, earth sun and moon playing a part. Previously he has intercut from the world of human life. Here the cosmic implications of his earlier films are carried through by intercutting images from the human scale (clouds, a solar corona, the moon’s surface) , and the sub human scale (a microscopic shot of blood pumping through arteries, a close up of a heart beating). It is, more than anything else, a world of overwhelming natural forces that he presents. The feeling of the film is unmistakable. Submit or die! But that is what he said in Interim, twelve years ago. In the meantime he has learned more things to say about it and more beautiful ways to show it.’ – Dan Clark. (programme notes, museum of Art, Carnegie Institute)