PRINT January 1973

Camera Lucida/Camera Obscura

For Jay Leyda

WE CELEBRATE, AS THIS YEAR BEGINS, the birthdays of two master film makers: Eisenstein, were he living at this hour, would be 75 years of age and Stan Brakhage this month turns 40. Convergences and parallels of aspiration and achievement suggest themselves in such force and number as to strain the limits and categories, national and formal, which critical and historical discourse on cinema most generally employ. As one begins to think about the work of these two men, their kinds and intensities of energy, the trajectories which they describe through the culture of our time and, more specifically, through its paradigmatic esthetic mode—the cinema—one has a fresh, keen sense of that mode’s continuity. 

I will take that sense as signaling that for cinema, too, it is coming to be true, as Eliot some 50 years ago claimed in the most celebrated of his critical texts, that,

No poet,

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