Stan Brakhage I

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Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 18, 2015

19 years old!  Just terrific. Reputedly inspired by neo-realism; in responding to that movement, Brakhage actually prefigures Antonioni. The landscapes are blasted, the tentative connection, waylaid by carnality, ends in dire alienation. Is that a little schematic, or over-dramatic? He’s nineteen!

The chiasmic balance of this thing is actually quite exquisite. It’s not slavishly symmetrical: we start with the boy, end with the girl, the patterns of frustration and ennui go on forever. The young woman in question is really lovely—local, ethnic, a very particular individual. That first tentative smile is worthy of Mr. Bernstein’s story in Citizen Kane. Again, their final separation/ending is kind of overdetermined. But when that long train passes, and he’s gone, and she’s all alone, the effect really is spectacular, in the best sense of the word.