Stan Brakhage II

film 4 of 27

The Dead (1960)

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 18, 2015

This is shot in Brakhage’s searching, subjective style. No more establishing shots and careful compositions for him. This after all is how we really see (a further elaboration of what V.I. Pudovkin was saying about montage in the 1920s [published in English in 1954]). You can certainly make that argument, and the film does very does strikingly capture a lot of striking cemetery architecture.

The negative image and the white-outs makes us think ghostly thoughts, I guess. (I’m not sure how or what Kenneth Anger contributes. There he is, sitting. This is the kind of meaningless thing that the aficionados of trivia—or desperate promoters—tend to emphasize. [Jonas Mekas and the Lennons, for instance.] Who cares?) The subjective approach is very valid, very important. But there’s a possibly inherent lack of structure that goes along with, and it may not be very helpful. Or, if there is structure, then the architectural vocabulary is too personal for so many of the rest of us to understand. What’s that you say? Against Interpretation? (Sontag, 1966.)

That also is a very good point.

The shift from the graves to those people on the shore of the Seine is beautiful.