TELLING TIME: ESSAYS OF A VISIONARY FILMMAKER by Stan Brakhage
Documentext, 2003 First edition, 144 pp., 5 1/2" X 8 3/4" Hardcover
Throughout a career spanning half a century, Stan Brakhage, the foremost experimental filmmaker in America, and perhaps the world, wrote controversial essays on the art of film and its intersections with poetry, music, dance, and painting. Published in small circulation literary and arts journals, they were gathered later into such books as Metaphors on Vision and Film at Wit's End. Beginning in 1989, and for a decade thereafter, Brakhage wrote the essays in Telling Time as an occasional column for Musicworks, a Toronto quarterly. Ostensibly about the relation of film to music, they soon enlarged to explore primary concerns beyond film, including Brakhage's aesthetic theories based on the phenomenology of human cognition. In these essays he is as brilliant discussing Gertrude Stein or romantic love as he is on child psychology, astronomy, and physiology, all the while teasing out vital correspondences between the arts, and upending conventional ideas of how we perceive. His investigations of other artists are models of sympathetic intuition and generosity. Above all, he shares his theories, discoveries and understandings in the spirit of establishing a groundwork for many varieties of human liberation. His prose is filled with flashes of insight, elaborated metaphors, playful elisions, shorthand puns and neologisms, personal digressions, surprising epiphanies, leaps of faith, affronts to authority. He appeals to the imagination, and invites us to a more profound and personal experience of art.