The Stars Are Beautiful

The Stars Are Beautiful (1974) 19 min 16mm, by Stan Brakhage (1933-2003):

Part 1

Part 2

More on Brakhage at Senses of Cinema.

I find this kind of non-narrative experimental filmmaking wonderful. When I studied film in college my interests gravitated to this kind of art. Maybe it was because I was also studying art history and had a fondness for modern art. Maybe also because I love poetry. I think any work of art is a kind of test of what we bring to it. That test is not only of us, but of the artist and his/her work of art. A kind of dialogue ensues if we pursue it. Brakhage worked with a language, at least on its surface, that is foreign to most people. One could say it is abstract, I prefer poetic. However, I think there is a universal resonance within his best films that makes them work at a deeper level than is possible with more common forms of film language. I also had the privilege of attending a two evening presentation and discussion with Brakhage where he talked of his processes, inspirations, showed a number of his films, and introduced us to other filmmakers. It was revelatory.

Stan Brakhage

The Mountaineer

Lily on the summit, Mt. McLoughlin, 2011

OH, at the eagle’s height
To lie i’ the sweet of the sun,
While veil after veil takes flight
And God and the world are one.

Oh, the night on the steep!
All that his eyes saw dim
Grows light in the dusky deep,
And God is alone with him.

~by George William (“A. E.”) Russell (1867–1935)

>’Why I Ride’ photo contest


I recently entered the image and poem below in the EcoVelo “Why I Ride” Photo Contest. The rules allow one to include some text with the image. I chose to write a poem rather than an explanation.
In the half light dawn
two wheels carry all this:
The dreams of a life,
the body and the heart,
the fire,
the flame.
Early morning sojourn
traveling light,
moving in balance,
so swiftly tilting
the corners,
the frame.
The river running slow
beneath a darkened bridge,
with sunrise streaking,
I stop to see
the water,
the game.
My path continues east,
then westward back
when day end comes,
and home calls out to me,
my soul,
my name.