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Prelude: Dog Star Man

Stan Brakhage

USA, 1961
26 minutes, Colour, Silent
Available formats: 16mm

I wanted Prelude to be a created dream for the work that follows rather than surrealism which takes its inspiration from the dream, I stayed close to the practical use of dream material… One thing I knew for sure (from my own dreaming) was that what one dreams just before waking structures the following day. – S. B. from Metaphors on Vision.
‘Prelude begins with a greenish-gray leader in which faint, shallow, shimmering changes of texture suddenly appear. After a sudden flash of brightness a light waves up and down once quickly on the screen. Out of this abstract chaos images of the sky, snow, fire, and streetlights emerge, sometimes slowly and sometimes suddenly. As the eye is teased by the speed and shifting focus of these initial elements, it becomes apparent that the montage is in the service of a double metaphor, the opening of the film seems like both the birth of the universe and the formation of the individual consciousness.’ – P.Adams Sitney, Visionary Film.