Mar 31, 2010

Mothlight-Bryan DiBlasi

Although I enjoy much cameraless animation, I can never really get into Stan Brakhages “Mothlight” (1963). There is no denying that an ungodly amount of time, focus, care, and precision went into this film. There is no denying that the film you see running right before your very eyes is in fact quite beautiful and outlandishly creative. For me, I can never get into the rhythm of the film. It moves too fast while lacking the rhythm. I have seen the film many times now (both outside my film class and several times in it) and I always reach the same conclusion. When watching the film at home on the computer, I constantly second guess my conclusion. This is because when it is paused it is easier to admire. While watching the film on my computer this time, my Internet connection started to go in and out. This made the film unintentionally pause and unpause on its own, creating its own unique rhythm. Then, I started to intentionally pause and unpause the computer to make my own rhythm, which I thought actually enhanced the film (rhythm wise). But when I would let the film play at its intended speed again, I felt it lacked something (rhythm wise). I believe other Stan Brakhage camraless animation films (e.g. “Water for Maya”, ”Glaze of Cathexis”,etc…) demonstrate his mastery in the camraless animation field, but in “Mothlight” he missed the boat with rhythm. I recently watched some (on recommendation from my film instructor) of David Gattens “What the water Said”. In this film, David Gatten “placed unexposed rolls of film in crab traps in the Atlantic Ocean off the South Carolina coast. The resulting sounds and images were produced by the physical and chemical interactions between the film's emulsion and the surrounding salt water, sand, rocks, crabs, fish and underwater creatures.” I believe that that this is a film, which is a prime example of what camraless animation can achieve both rhythmically and also in the entire realm of visual music. “Mothlight” is close, but I still feel lacks rhythmically.

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