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Anticipation of the Night

1958 / 42m - USA
Anticipation of the Night poster

A relatively long Brakhage film, which (somewhat surprisingly) works better for the type of films he makes. This is another madly edited series of almost-abstract images that make little narrative sense, but over a longer period of time do manage to create some sort of trance.

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There's a concept here (a young child trying to overthink the events of the day, if I'm not mistaken), but I can't say I really got that from the film (I had to read up about it afterwards). All I get from this film is a visual onslaught that explores what one can accomplish with images and editing.

Which is quite a lot in fact, though I do still miss a soundtrack here. Without music, it's only half the experience for me. That said, I did get into it, though it took me at least 15 minutes (which no doubt explains why I care little about his shorts). One of the better Brakhage films I've seen, but it's a shame he never got to befriend a composer.

The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes

1971 / 32m - USA
The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes poster

Not sure I'd call it one of Brakhage's more accessible films, but it's definitely one of his least abstract ones. If you like Brakhage's style of filming and editing, but aren't taken with the abstract images that exemplify his work, you may want to give this film a chance. Be sure to read up about it up front though.

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The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes is an unflinching autopsy documentary. There's a ton of dead bodies, often very mangled ones, that get examined. A lot of it involves cutting up the remains and cleaning up the mess afterwards. These are not pretty pictures and will probably be considered very shocking by many.

But, as the title of the film explains, that's pretty much the point. It's just a shame that Brakhage refuses to add a soundtrack to his work and that film simply can't substitute the real deal, which takes away some shock effect of this documentary. This comes from a longtime horror fan though, so make sure you know what you're getting yourself into.