Without question one of cinema’s most influential and prolific artists, Stan Brakhage (1933-2003) created a monumentally significant and expressive body of work that spanned 50 years and over 350 films. For five decades, Brakhage worked in a highly distinctive, individualistic vein, mining celluloid cinema and--at least in his hands--its seemingly limitless potential for the articulation of raw subjective experience and pre-linguistic vision. The Academy Film Archive has been actively preserving and restoring Brakhage’s body of work since his collection was deposited there in 2004. In a career loaded with countless visionary works, Brakhage’s The Pittsburgh Documents (often called The Pittsburgh Trilogy) are a trio of acknowledged masterworks, and represent a radical approach to the concept of a cinematic document (as opposed to documentary) rooted in subjective observation. By training his eyes and the film medium on three subjects he felt were elusive, inscrutable, even fearful in their universality, Brakhage sought to gain some empathic foothold--if not an understanding--in these realms of authority (police), illness (hospital) and death (morgue).
This screening features the World Premiere of new preservations by the Academy Film Archive. UCLA and the Academy are honored to be joined by filmmaker Werner Herzog, friend and admirer of Brakhage, to discuss The Pittsburgh Documents, cinematic truth and Brakhage the artist with Academy preservationist Mark Toscano.
The Pittsburgh Documents--eyes (1971), Deus Ex (1971), The Act of Seeing with one’s own eyes (1971)--were preserved by the Academy Film Archive with support from The Film Foundation.
Total running time of program: approx. 160 min.