Stan Brakhage, “Mothlight” (1963) (all images courtesy UCLA Film & Television Archive)

Stan Brakhage was one of the 20th century’s most influential avant-garde  filmmakers, with a five-decade career that found him continually pushing the boundaries of his medium. His oeuvre ranged from completely abstract films made by painting and scratching directly onto the celluloid, to experimental explorations of the modern city, autopsies, or even the play of light on a glass ashtray. In honor of the release of a new edition of his 1963 book Metaphors of Vision, a classic of modern cinema theory, the UCLA Film & Television Archive and the Los Angeles Filmforum have organized a two-night program of some of his most seminal films.

Stan Brakhage, “Anticipation of the Night” (1958)

Friday’s program features work from the late ’50s and early ’60s, including The Dead (1960), a disorienting tour through Paris’s Père Lachaise Cemetery that utilizes classic Brakhage techniques like frantic editing, image superimposition, and quick cutting between positive and negative. Also screening is Mothlight (1963), a meditation on mortality made by gluing moth wings and leaves directly onto the film. Saturday’s program features selections from Songs (1964-67), a series of silent, color 8mm films that form an intimate and poetic collection of visual collages. Included in this screening is Song 23: 23rd Psalm Brancha reaction to the Vietnam War that is considered to be one of his most iconic works.

When: Friday, April 13 & Saturday, April 14, 7:30pm nightly (tickets $8–$10: free admission for UCLA students & Los Angeles Filmforum members)
Where: Hammer Museum (Billy Wilder Theater, 10899 Wilshire Blvd., Westwood, Los Angeles)

More info at UCLA Film & Television Archive.

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Matt Stromberg

Matt Stromberg is a freelance visual arts writer based in Los Angeles. In addition to Hyperallergic, he is a frequent contributor to Daily Serving, and Glasstire.