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Faust IV (1/2)

Stan Brakhage

USA, 1989
37 minutes, Colour, opt

Faust IV is moving visual thinking, the imaged thought process of young Faust escaping the unbearable pictures of his broken romantic idyll, mentally fleeing the particulars of his dramatised ‘love’, Faust’s mind ranging the geography of his upbringing and its structures of cultural hubris – the whole nervous system ‘going to ground’ and finally ‘becoming one’ with the hypnagogically visible cells of his receptive sight and their inner cognition… all that I could give him of Heaven in this current visualisation of these ancient themes. The timing of multiple-superimpositions is by Louise Fujiks. – S.B.
Faust IV is the fourth in a series of films developing the themes of a modern Faust character, played by Joel Hartling. Faust IV is concerned with thought process and contains a number of brief flashback images of Faust (Joel Hartling) and the woman (Emily Ripley) as photographed together at home for the earlier film in the series, ‘Faust’s Other: An Idyll’. These images are then interwoven with multiple superimpositions of landscape images taken throughout the states of Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Kansas (including, for example, images of Mesa Verde, the Great White Sands National Monument, the plains of Kansas, and Oral Roberts’ ‘City of God’ sculpture and architecture in Tulsa), as Faust strives to ‘rid his mind of drama and to become at one with the ground of his being’. The film has two brief passages of voice-over narration by the author (STAN BRAKHAGE), as well as music by Rick Corrigan (also edited by STAN BRAKHAGE to his images). The last few minutes of the film are in silence, as the images gradually become darker with the setting sun.