Reviews -- Essential Brakhage: Selected Writings on Filmmaking

"...Part of the great post-WWII generation of Americans who revolutionized every area of artistic activity, Brakhage was arguably as important to his medium as John Cage or Jackson Pollock were to theirs, and has never received his full due. This is at least partly because his work has been hard to actually see outside of a few places, and there is a lot to see -- 340 films over 48 years. But anyone who has seen even a minute or two of a film like "Dog Star Man" -- with its scratches and painted frames, its stunning juxtaposition of abstraction and materiality -- immediately recognizes not only Brakhage's singular sensibility, but also its enormous influence on our visual culture. ...Luckily, Brakhage's writings convey much of the volcanic intelligence of his films, as well as eloquently extending their thematic concerns. Brakhage writes in a variety of modes, from the concise filmmaking manual of "A Moving Picture Giving and Taking Book" (written as "a short book on film technique which could be read by poets") to such poetically charged texts as "Angels" and "Notes of Anticipation," in which a film's shot list resembles a text by Gertrude Stein....This book would be important even if Brakhage were not such an engaging writer, but the eclectic range and concision of this collection make it an essential addition to the small library of film classics by filmmakers."
-- Publishers Weekly, July 2, 2001

"With this anthology, the publisher offers generous excerpts from two out-of-print Brakhage books, a sampling of recent writings....While some of the writing is dated, Brakhage's advice to aspiring independent filmmakers retains interest, and notes on selected films will be useful for film society programmers and scholars. Recommended for large academic film collections."
-- Library Journal
"Bruce McPherson of McPherson & Company (always a leader in publishing titles associated with alternative and underground films) has put together a wonderfully diverse collection of Brakhage's most influential writings... This collection...truly illustrates the wide spectrum of literary and critical work that the artist has created over the years. Most notable among these pieces are "Metaphors on Vision," "Notes of Anticipation," and "A Moving Picture Giving and Taking Book." The intriguing "Angels" very nearly captures the shimmering, shifting images that characterize Brakhage's films, while "The Seen," a documentation of interactions following a 1974 screening at the San Francisco Art Institute, is one of the book's most engaging works, sketching out Brakhage's unique approach to seeing/recording with remarkable clarity."
-- Robert Cagle, Micro-Film, #6, 2004

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