Anthology Film Archives Honors Film Preservationists
IN addition to his work as a filmmaker and teacher, Stan Brakhage is active in preserving works of avant-garde cinema for future generations.
He was recently honored for his work in this field by New York's respected Anthology Film Archives, which has played a key role in restoring and protecting non-commercial films.
Also honored this year were the Eastman Kodak Company, film historians Lewis Jacobs and Leonard Maltin, the National Center for Jewish Film, and Pioneer LDCA, a video-disc distributor.
In a program at the archives a couple of days later, Mr. Brakhage presented a program of films he has helped to preserve, and they made for a splendidly vigorous show. Included were:
* "The End," made by Christopher MacLaine in 1953. This pitch-dark comedy mingles color, black-and-white, and blank-screen passages as it tells the stories of five people on the last day of their lives. At once an adolescent farce, a deliberately tacky melodrama, and a dead-serious meditation on nuclear danger in the cold-war years, it still deserves its reputation as an underground classic.
* Films by Bob Branaman, a mysterious artist who refused to title his movies and dropped out of sight a number of years ago, never to be heard from again. Made between 1960 and 1963, his 8-millimeter works are dazzling collages of superimposed images, often edited at lightning speed.
* "Aleph," made by Wallace Berman in 1965. Shot on 8-mm film, this is a dense and breathtaking five-minute voyage through the early 1960s.
* A few early "Songs" by Brakhage, made on 8-mm film in the mid-1960s and initiating a glorious series of visual poems chronicling life with his family, his friends, his surroundings, and his innermost thoughts.