Counting five appearances from the inaugural 1969 season to 1990, Stan Brakhage figures as one of Cineprobe’s most-screened directors. In this pairing of Brakhage and Phil Solomon, who passed away earlier this year, each artist’s legacy resonates in the context of Cineprobe’s engagement with artists over the course of their careers. Three films by Brakhage foreground the filmmaker’s exemplary ability to craft rapturous symbolism and lyric tones around subjects ranging from autobiography to literature. The hand-painted and step-printed Elementary Phrases, the first of Brakhage and Solomon’s three collaborations during their shared years at the University of Colorado, Boulder, was envisioned by the artists in terms of musical phrasing. Its elaborate structure and exquisite play of color, light, and texture articulate stanza-like variances akin to what Solomon called “the differences observable between the slow, full, majestic phrasing of a Veronese (that of Tintoretto is more suave with equal plenitude), the rugged phrasing of Caravaggio, powerful in its boldness, brutal, even a bit melodramatic (…) or again, the pathetic and tormented phrasing of Delacroix.” Concluding the all-silent program is Solomon’s Clepsydra—described as a “sprocketed waterfall”—which evokes the dreamscapes of a female protagonist with distinctive splendor. Program 81 min.
He Was Born, He Suffered, He Died. 1974. USA. Directed by Stan Brakhage. 16mm. 7:30 min.
Nightmare Series. 1978. USA. Directed by Stan Brakhage. 16mm. 20 min.
The Thatch of Night. 1990. USA. Directed by Stan Brakhage. 16mm. 5 min.
Elementary Phrases. 1994. USA. Directed by Stan Brakhage, Phil Solomon. 16mm. 34:30 min.
Clepsydra. 1994. USA. Directed by Phil Solomon. 16mm. 14 min.