Stan Brakhage

Panels for the Walls of Heaven (2002) 16mm, color, 35 min

Genre: Experimental

"This film is an entirely hand-painted film composed of a combination of highly complex step-printed super-impositions of hand-painting (at variable speeds), and raw and highly textured strips of hand-painted original film run at speed (24 distinct frames every second). It can be considered the fourth part of what had been called the "Vancouver Island Trilogy" (A CHILD'S GARDEN and THE SERIOUS SEA, THE MAMMALS OF VICTORIA, and THE GOD OF DAY HAD GONE DOWN UPON HIM), making the entire work now the "Vancouver Island Quartet." "Purple flashes are followed by a curtain of purple and blues, first seemingly static and then in motion. Close-ups of textures of paint evolve into flashes of jewel-like red, then more cascading blues and purples and white - 'falling,' seemingly, down from the top of the screen, at other times multi-directional bursts of rolling colors. Red, blue and yellow course through in an up-down motion, then blues and yellows enter from left and right in a complex medley of not solidly formed, but very vibrant pulsations of color, at times only slightly hinting at a solidity of "wallness" upon which the paint might exist. But it is a "wall" suffused with light. Suggestions of fire and water, textures of paint on wall, sparkling jewels, and chunks of blue-white ice arise, as the textures of paint at times become a riotous rainbow of tumbling hues flowing in a river of light, creating the paradoxical experience of a fully substantial insubstantiality "The film clearly echoes back to earlier Brakhage films, including "A Child's Garden" and the "seriousness" of the sea, as well as hand-painted works such as SPRING CYCLE and STELLAR. The image holds briefly on a vision of depth of black with jewel-colored edges, followed by a wash of yellow, more 'panels' of color, then sheets of ice-like blues joined by red and finally turning to dark green. There is a seeming movement into the details of the paint itself. Curtains of black web-like lines explode once again into tumbling yellows and mauves, slowing, then becoming faster again, going into a step-like movement, frame to frame, of views of walls that are not walls, showing an increasing tactility, with occasional apparent "holes," and then resuming a multi-directional flow, and moving on into a recapitulation of some earlier forms: greens, reds, blues, red/black, greens and yellows, with sparkling blacks and swatches of red, loosening up once again on a whiter ground, with forms reminiscent of swimming spermatazoa and ending finally on a cumulative repetition of earlier visual themes."-Marilyn Brakhage

16mm Rental: $140.00

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