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Stan Brakhage’s Metaphors on Vision

Stan Brakhage working on Dog Star Man: Prelude, ca. 1961. Photo: Robert Benson.

Stan Brakhage, Metaphors on Vision, edited by P. Adams Sitney. New York: Anthology Film Archives and Light Industry, 2017. 212 pages.

IN THE INTERVIEW with P. Adams Sitney that opens Metaphors on Vision, a collection of essays first published as the Fall 1963 issue of Film Culture, Stan Brakhage rejects the suicide that ends his 1958 film Anticipation of the Night, seeing it as too bound up in the dramatic conventions he would subsequently seek to excise from his practice. Leaving behind such psychodrama, he set out on a quest to find filmic realization for the adventure of vision itself.

There is ample evidence of Brakhage’s commitment to this pursuit, notably in the nearly four hundred films he made prior his death, in 2003. Yet, perhaps ironically for one who fought so insistently to escape the prison of language, the reception of this work has been inescapably colored by the

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