• Kingdom of the Fairies

schedule

The Book of Wonders: Films by Stan Brakhage and Georges Méliès

Seemingly poles apart, Stan Brakhage (1933–2003) and Georges Méliès (1861–1938) were two independent spirits, explorers of multiplicity, dissection, starry realms, panoramas of the interior, metamorphosis and decay. In vastly different ways, they composed for a radiant screen, abandoning the usual notions of accepted perspectival space. Exploring the mythic and the everyday, both filmmakers superimposed life and death, plumbing the depths of the subconscious, evoking terrors and natural splendors that summon childhood perceptions. Brakhage admired Méliès’s films for their rhythmic integrity, and as investigations into semblance and actuality—revealing the nature of our unstable apparitional reality, life in flux. For Brakhage, The Loom, featured tonight, “might be compared to musical quartet-form (as there are almost always four superimposed pictures); but the complexity of texture, multiplicity of tone, and the variety of interrelated rhythm, suggest symphonic dimensions. The film is very inspired by Georges Méliès: the animals exist (in Jane’s enclosure) as on a stage, their interrelationships edited to the disciplines of dance, so therefore one might say this hardly represents ‘animal life on earth’; but I would argue that this work at least epitomizes theatrical Nature, magical Creature, and is the outside limit, to date, of my art in that respect.”
—Mark McElhatten

Tonight’s program celebrates the reissue of Stan Brakhage’s Metaphors on Vision, with annotations by P. Adams Sitney, available in the BAMPFA Store. The program is guest curated by Mark McElhatten and was first presented at Harvard Film Archive, where The Loom was named the best rediscovery of 2017 by the Boston Society of Film Critics.

Films in this Screening

The Dead

Stan Brakhage, United States, 1960

FILM DETAILS 
Print Info
  • Color
  • 16mm
  • Silent
  • 11 mins
courtesy of
  • Academy Film Archive

Commingled Containers

Stan Brakhage, United States, 1997

FILM DETAILS 
Print Info
  • Color
  • 16mm
  • Silent
  • 3 mins
source
  • Canyon Cinema

The Garden of Earthly Delights

Stan Brakhage, United States, 1981

FILM DETAILS 
Print Info
  • Color
  • 35mm
  • Silent
  • 2 mins
source
  • Canyon Cinema

The Kingdom of the Fairies
(Le royaume des fées)

Georges Méliès, France, 1903

FILM DETAILS 
Print Info
  • Tinted
  • DCP
  • Silent
  • 17 mins
source
  • Lobster Films

The Loom

Stan Brakhage, United States, 1986

FILM DETAILS 
Print Info
  • Color
  • 16mm
  • Silent
  • 44 mins
source
  • Canyon Cinema