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LEGENDARY AMERICAN FILMMAKER STAN BRAKHAGE TO BE AWARDED HONORARY DEGREE AT BARD COLLEGE ON TUESDAY, MARCH 28 Evening will also feature world premiere screenings of three films
ANNANDALE-ON-HUDSON, N.Y.—Legendary American filmmaker Stan Brakhage will be awarded an honorary doctorate from Bard College on Tuesday, March 28, at 6:30 p.m. in Olin Hall. The presentation will be followed by the world premiere screenings of three Brakhage films and a reception. This event is free and open to the public.
"His work must be considered no less than towering," says Larry Kardish, curator of film exhibitions for the Museum of Modern Art, New York. "He's a major figure in contemporary art, the most important nonnarrative filmmaker of the past two generations, and he's still conquering new artistic territory. More than anyone else I can think of, he has expanded the potential of cinema."
The three films to be premiered March 28 are: The God of Day Had Gone Down Upon Him (2000) 60 minutes, a "photographic (as distinct from hand-painted) work, the third in what have come to be called the "Vancouver Island films," explains Brakhage. The film "concentrates metaphorically upon 'mid-age crisis," he continues "a psychological state comparable to but not relieved by death." The other films are Persian Series No. 9 (2000) 6 minutes, and Water for Maya (2000) 5 minutes, which Brakhage describes as "a hand-painted work which came into being during a film interview with Martina Kulacek about Maya Deren. There was a sudden recognition of Maya's intrinsic love of water and thus of all Mayan liquidity in magic conjunction, reflection, etc."
"Throughout Brakhage's career," says John Pruitt, associate professor of film at Bard College, "he has radically explored the boundary of camera technique and editing structure, including under- and over-exposure, handheld shooting, scratching or painting directly on the film strip, out-of-focus compositions that use grain as an integral element, and more."
Brakhage is considered one of "the most important filmmakers in the world," writes Alan Dumas in the Denver Rocky Mountain News, noting that directors ranging from the late John Cassavetes to Martin Scorcese have acknowledged their debt to his pioneering vision. Brakhage taught for over a decade at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and is now approaching twenty years as a professor of film studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He is the recipient of Rockefeller and Guggenheim Foundation fellowships; has had three major retrospectives of his work at the Museum of Modern Art; and has been honored at the London Film Festival and the Georges Pompidou Center in Paris. His film Dogstar Man was named one of the "100 Most Important Films of All Time" by the Library of Congress.
"Brakhage, whatever imagery or visual obsessions he may be blessed or condemned to work with," writes novelist and poet Robert Kelly, Asher B. Edelman Professor of Literature at Bard, "is always offering us the still bracing, still experimental vision of an autonomous cinema, one in thrall to no other art, telling no story." He concludes, "It is for that courageous insistence on film itself that we honor him."
For further information about the evening's events, call 914-758-7512.
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