Stan Brakhage II

film 24 of 27

The Riddle of Lumen

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 18, 2015

Something is happening here, but I don’t know what it is…

The idea sounds good. A celebration of light, a compilation of ways that it falls on all of the things that it falls on. Also, a compilation of ways you can capture that falling with a camera. There are certainly some pretty things in here. Why is it, though, in certain Brakhage films/Brakhage periods, that so much of the high flown rhetoric results in or is illustrated by so much middling-or-worse footage? I had better acknowledge that this could just be my own bourgeois technophilia, a genuflection before the empty altars of mere craft. I thought I was above that! The avant garde partly exists in order to catalyze just this kind of confrontation with one’s preconceptions.

Good. And yet. Making the familiar strange is one thing, but too often this just feels like blown footage. Not getting it? Very possibly. Having admitted as much, I’ll also admit that the riddle and answer material also left me cold, or unedified, this time around.