October 1, 2009
Montreal and Stan Brakhage
I don't really like the films I've seen of Stan Brakhage, but he's a legend to some.
There are a lot of experimental film-makers at my school. They make flickering light films, and films with ten minutes of black leader over the sound of someone shoveling. That sort of thing. They worship Brakhage.
Today, over a 5 o'clock beer at an Irish pub, an experimental film-maker friend told me about the time he'd gone book-shopping with Brakhage in downtown Montreal. My friend purchased Augustine's Confessions.
"Augustine!" said Brakhage, "That'll give you a boner and put you down on your knees at the same time."
I like that story.
Brakhage, my friend told me, showed one of his films to Tarkovsky. Tarkovsky hated it, but could speak of nothing else for weeks.
I don't know that I believe that story.
Last Tuesday I was wearing all black. A Hasidic family stopped for a long time in the middle of a crosswalk to look at me. Father, mother, son, daughter. I didn't know why. I was really confused. They said nothing. I tried frowning, smiling, and some kind of neutral expression -in an attempt to redirect their attention. They just stared quietly. Then the father said something in Hebrew; they all nodded, and walked away. I told this story to Leah. Our guess was that they thought maybe I was Hasidic, or at least Orthodox, and wondered why I wasn't wearing the appropriate headgear.
Or maybe my fly was undone.