Stan Brakhage uses his wife’s childhood backyard and depictions of the sea to create a meditation on memory, life, and consciousness. This 1991 film is part of his “Vancouver Island Quartet.”
“If you study the chakras (the psychic centers in the body), you find that there are seven of them…They’re usually depicted as arranged along the spinal column and described starting from the bottom, going to the top. Each chakra has its own unique characteristics, and centuries of elaboration and analysis have accumulated around these characteristics. … In Chakra, I was able to transfer the traditional order of the chakras into a film, starting with the first (lower) chakra and working up to the seventh (top) chakra…” – J. Belson.
This film documents the legendary SoHo restaurant and artists’ cooperative Food, which opened in 1971. Owned and operated by Caroline Goodden, Food was designed and built largely by Matta-Clark, who also organized art events and performances there. As a social space, meeting ground and ongoing art project for the emergent downtown artists’ community, Food was a landmark that still resonates in the history and mythology of SoHo in the 1970s.
During the First World War, a Canadian soldier, devastated by the recent death of his fiancee, arrives at the frozen Russian city of Archangel. While billeted with a local family, he is astonished to discover a woman that may or may not be the lover he thought lost. Unfortunately, she is suffering from amnesia and remembers nothing of their former passion. A rival suitor, claiming to be her husband and who may also be suffering from amnesia, is equally unsuccessful at winning her affection. The melancholy story plays itself out against the madness of the Great War.
Clepsydra is an ancient Greek water clock (literally, “to steal water”). This film envisions the strip of celluloid going vertically through a projector as a sprocketed waterfall (random events measured in discreet units of time), through which the silent dreams of a young girl can barely be heard under the din of an irresistible torrent, an irreversible torment.
Images from an aerial tram leaving Manhattan are followed by images of a nearly static bird, of bugs fighting, and of light bending as it passes through glass. Near the film’s end the tram lands in Manhattan, as if it had reversed direction; as in all of Julie Murray’s films, the images and the editing can pull several ways at once. There are no absolutes, and even the light by which we see is altered by the material it passes through.
Lacrima Christi, third part of the tetralogy Le Corps de la Passion (The Body of the Passion, 1977-1980), is inspired by Christian mythology, from which it draws a creative transformation force, in a search for identity that questions the two cultures to which the filmmaker belonged.
A big fan of Chow Yun-Fat who works in an illegal arms sales shop finds one day a huge jar that allows him to transform snails into humans…