1001 Flicks

Regularly updated blog charting the most important films of the last 104 years.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

384. Dog Star Man (1962)

Directed By Stan Brakhage


A man climbs a snowy hill with his dog... and shit.


Well this is half an hour of my life I won't get back (I didn't watch the whole cycle of films from 61 to 64, only Part I from 1962). I know this will annoy plenty of uptight film students but it was not the most enjoyable experience. I suspect it would be better in the correct context, but in front of my PC it didn't do much for me.

This is not to say that I don't recognise its importance or its worthiness as a presence on this list. This is cinema at its most experimental something which was all too infrequent from the beginning of talkies until the 60s, and in that sense Brakhage was playing with film in an original and worthy way, just not in one which is particularly exciting for the viewer.

I would also figure that the film would be greatly enhanced by mind altering substances, which I didn't partake of. It is half an hour of silent film with images bombarding the viewer more often than not being completely abstract. What I probably found most interesting about it were the parallels between the film and the Philip K. Dick "Do Android's Dream of Electric Sheep" Mercerism thing where they get absorbed into a film of a man climbing a hill and falling down becoming almost a religious experience. I seemed to be missing an "empathy box" for this film, however.

Final Grade



From Wikipedia:

The film is part of the by Brakhage: an Anthology Criterion collection DVD.

The same footage was also made into a much longer film, The Art of Vision. Both are generally considered the masterpieces of his first mature period.

First 9 minutes of the PRelude from 1961: