Academic journal article Millennium Film Journal

Riding with Stan

Academic journal article Millennium Film Journal

Riding with Stan

Article excerpt

The first time was in the fall of 1992, when I drove Brakhage from Manhattan to Princeton University where I had invited him to speak and show his work. As we drove, we spoke of mutual acquaintances, his films, a recent illness, and his feelings about psychoanalysis-a field in which I was training.

At Princeton his talk and screening and aftertalk were characteristically warm and stimulating. Before returning to New York, Brakhage asked if we could visit the house and property nearby where he had lived years earlier, at the time he shot Sirius Remembered. We did. He remarked that little had changed, pointed out the plot of ground where the dog had been buried, and regretted not having brought his camera.

On the return trip, I asked a question provoked by a recent re-seeing of Tortured Dust, a film that moves me greatly. It concerned my sense of the different ways he seemed to film each of his sons and I wondered if this reflected specific feelings he was aware of at the time. He seemed surprised, yet undefensive, speculating that while he was having trouble with his eyes at the time, he could not rule out that, indeed, there may have been some paternal envy and favoritism inflected in his camerawork.

It began to rain as we rode through Little Italy on the way to uptown Manhattan, turning the gaudy colored lights of restaurants and storefronts into what Brakhage called the set for a Minnelli movie. …

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