Biography

Stan Brakhage is one of the most influential filmmakers in American avant-garde cinema, noted for his unflinching social commentaries and technical innovations. Over his nearly 40-year career, he has made over 200 films of varying length. He made his first film, Interim (1952) at age 18 after dropping out of college. Brakhage films seek to change the way we see. They encourage viewers to eschew traditional narrative structure in favor of pure visual perception that is not reliant on naming what is seen; rather his goal is to create a more visceral visual experience, for he believes that a "stream-of visual-consciousness could be nothing less than the pathway of the soul." To this end, his films are shot in highly sensual colors and utilize minimal soundtracks.

His work can be divided into distinct periods. His first short films explored the properties and possibilities of light. In many of his experimental ventures, Brakhage has forgone traditional cinematography in favor of working directly with the film stock itself. He has occasionally painted, inked, scratched and dyed images onto it; he has also tried pasting organic objects on the film. His most famous example is the 1963 short Mothlight in which he glued moth wings onto the stock. Some of his early films were based on his most intimate experiences that included making love to his new bride--depicted on negative film--in Wedlock House: An Intercourse (1959), and an attempt to bring his dead dog back to life with a camera in Sirius Remembered (1959). During the 1960s, Brakhage's iconoclastic views were celebrated for their poetry, but during the '70s, his focus changed to social issues and he alienated many supporters with such disturbing film series as the "Pittsburgh documents" in which he presented many gruesome views of inner city life with films such as Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes (1971) which was shot in a morgue. He also continued with autobiographical material with the "Sincerity/Duplicity series. During the 1980s, Brakhage's focus again changed--this time he became intrigued with creating truly "abstract" films such as Arabics (1982) which consists of brilliant bursts of colored light which he claims, represent "envisioned music." In addition to filmmaking, Brakhage also wrote books about films and filmmaking and also served as a teacher.

Stan Brakhage is one of the most influential filmmakers in American avant-garde cinema, noted for his unflinching social commentaries and technical innovations. Over his nearly 40-year career, he has made over 200 films of varying length. He made his first film, Interim (1952) at age 18 after dropping out of college. Brakhage films seek to change the way we see. They encourage viewers to eschew traditional narrative structure in favor of pure visual perception that is not reliant on naming what is seen; rather his goal is to create a more visceral visual experience, for he believes that a "stream-of visual-consciousness could be nothing less than the pathway of the soul." To this end, his films are shot in highly sensual colors and utilize minimal soundtracks.

His work can be divided into distinct periods. His first short films explored the properties and possibilities of light. In many of his experimental ventures, Brakhage has forgone traditional cinematography in favor of working directly with the film stock itself. He has occasionally painted, inked, scratched and dyed images onto it; he has also tried pasting organic objects on the film. His most famous example is the 1963 short Mothlight in which he glued moth wings onto the stock. Some of his early films were based on his most intimate experiences that included making love to his new bride--depicted on negative film--in Wedlock House: An Intercourse (1959), and an attempt to bring his dead dog back to life with a camera in Sirius Remembered (1959). During the 1960s, Brakhage's iconoclastic views were celebrated for their poetry, but during the '70s, his focus changed to social issues and he alienated many supporters with such disturbing film series as the "Pittsburgh documents" in which he presented many gruesome views of inner city life with films such as Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes (1971) which was shot in a morgue. He also continued with autobiographical material with the "Sincerity/Duplicity series. During the 1980s, Brakhage's focus again changed--this time he became intrigued with creating truly "abstract" films such as Arabics (1982) which consists of brilliant bursts of colored light which he claims, represent "envisioned music." In addition to filmmaking, Brakhage also wrote books about films and filmmaking and also served as a teacher.

Personal Info

Known For Directing

Gender Male

Known Credits 382

Birthday 1933-01-14

Day of Death 2003-03-09

Place of Birth Kansas City, Missouri, USA

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • James Stanley Brakhage

Directing TV ShowsMovies

2010 By Brakhage: An Anthology, Volume Two Director
2003 By Brakhage: An Anthology, Volume One Director
2003 Chinese Series Director
2002 Panels for the Walls of Heaven Director
2002 Resurrectus Est Director
2002 SB Director
2002 Ascension Director
2002 Max Director
2002 Seasons... Director
2001 Persian Series #16 Director
2001 Persian Series #15 Director
2001 Persian Series #13 Director
2001 Persian Series #18 Director
2001 Persian Series #14 Director
2001 Persian Series #17 Director
2001 Garden Path Director
2001 Dark Night of The Soul Director
2001 Lovesong Director
2001 Occam's Thread Director
2001 Micro Garden Director
2001 Very Director
2001 Baby Jesus Director
2001 Night Mulch Director
2001 Rounds Director
2001 Lovesong 2 Director
2000 Jesus Trilogy and Coda Director
2000 Persian Series #8 Director
2000 Persian Series #12 Director
2000 Persian Series #6 Director
2000 Persian Series #10 Director
2000 Persian Series #7 Director
2000 Persian Series #11 Director
2000 The God of Day Had Gone Down Upon Him Director
2000 Water for Maya Director
2000 Persian Series #9 Director
2000 Moilsome Toilsome Director
2000 Dance Director
1999 Persian Series #1 Director
1999 Persian Series #2 Director
1999 Persian Series #3 Director
1999 The Lion and the Zebra Make God's Raw Jewels Director
1999 The Dark Tower Director
1999 Alternating Currents Director
1999 Persian Series #5 Director
1999 Coupling Director
1999 Cricket Requiem Director
1999 The Earthsong of the Cricket Director
1999 Cloud Chamber Director
1999 Persian Series #4 Director
1999 The Birds Of Paradise Director
1999 Stately Mansions Did Decree Director
1999 Worm and Web Love Director
1998 "..." Reel Three Director
1998 "..." Reel Five Director
1998 "..." Reel 1 Director
1998 Female Mystique and Spare Leaves (for Gordon) Director
1998 "..." Reel 2 Director
1998 "..." Reel 4 Director
1997 Self Song/Death Song Director
1997 The Cat of the Worm's Green Realm Director
1997 Yggdrasill: Whose Roots Are Stars in the Human Mind Director
1997 Comingled Containers Director
1997 Divertimento Director
1997 Last Hymn to the Night - Novalis Director
1996 Prelude 8 Director
1996 Prelude 4 Director
1996 Prelude 7 Director
1996 Prelude 5 Director
1996 Prelude 9 Director
1996 Prelude 10 Director
1996 Prelude 11 Director
1996 Prelude 12 Director
1996 Prelude 13 Director
1996 Prelude 14 Director
1996 Prelude 3 Director
1996 Prelude 2 Director
1996 Prelude 1 Director
1996 Prelude 6 Director
1996 Beautiful Funerals Director
1996 Sexual Saga Director
1996 Concrescence Director
1996 The Fur of Home Director
1996 Shockingly Hot Director
1996 Two Found Objects of Charles Boultenhouse Director
1996 Blue Value Director
1996 Polite Madness Director
1996 Prelude 15 Director
1996 Prelude 16 Director
1996 Prelude 22 Director
1996 Prelude 18 Director
1996 Prelude 19 Director
1996 Prelude 20 Director
1996 Prelude 21 Director
1996 Through Wounded Eyes Director
1996 Prelude 24 Director
1996 Prelude 23 Director
1996 Prelude 17 Director
1995 I... Director
1995 Paranoia Corridor Director
1995 In Consideration of Pompeii Director
1995 Earthen Aerie Director
1995 I Take These Truths Director
1995 The 'b' Series Director
1995 Spring Cycle Director
1995 The Lost Films Director
1995 We Hold These Director
1994 From: First Hymn to the Night – Novalis Director
1994 Chartres Series Director
1994 Cannot Not Exist Director
1994 Naughts Director
1994 Cannot Exist Director
1994 The Mammals of Victoria Director
1994 Elementary Phrases Director
1994 Three Homerics Director
1994 Black Ice Director
1993 Autumnal Director
1993 The Harrowing Director
1993 Tryst Haunt Director
1993 Blossom-Gift/Favor Director
1993 Stellar Director
1993 Ephemeral Solidity Director
1993 Study in Color and Black and White Director
1992 Crack Glass Eulogy Director
1992 Untitled (For Marilyn) Director
1992 Interpolations I-V Director
1992 Boulder Blues and Pearls and... Director
1991 Christ Mass Sex Dance Director
1991 A Child’s Garden and the Serious Sea Director
1991 Vision of the Fire Tree Director
1991 Delicacies of Molten Horror Synapse Director
1991 Agnus Dei Kinder Synapse Director
1990 Visions in Meditation #4: D.H. Lawrence Director
1990 City Streaming Director
1990 Passage Through: A Ritual Director
1990 Glaze of Cathexis Director
1990 Babylon Series #2 Director
1990 Babylon Series #3 Director
1990 Visions in Meditation #3: Plato's Cave Director
1990 The Thatch of Night Director
1989 Faust 4 Director
1989 Visions in Meditation #1 Director
1989 Babylon Series #1 Director
1989 Visions in Meditation #2: Mesa Verde Director
1988 Faust 3: Candida Albacore Director
1988 Marilyn's Window Director
1988 I... Dreaming Director
1988 Matins Director
1988 Faust's Other: An Idyll Director
1988 Rage Net Director
1987 Loud Visual Noises Director
1987 Faustfilm: An Opera: Part I Director
1987 The Dante Quartet Director
1987 Kindering Director
1986 Jane Director
1986 The Loom Director
1986 Confession Director
1986 Night Music Director
1986 Dance Shadows by Danielle Helander Director
1986 Fireloop Director
1986 The Aerodyne Director
1984 Tortured Dust Director
1984 Tortured Dust Part III Director
1984 Tortured Dust Part I Director
1984 Egyptian Series Director
1984 Tortured Dust Part IV Director
1984 Tortured Dust Part II Director
1982 Arabic Numeral Series 14 Director
1982 Arabic Numeral Series 15 Director
1982 Arabic Numeral Series 16 Director
1982 Arabic Numeral Series 17 Director
1982 Arabic Numeral Series 19 Director
1982 Arabic Numeral Series 18 Director
1981 Arabic Numeral Series 12 Director
1981 Arabic Numeral Series 11 Director
1981 Arabic Numeral Series 8 Director
1981 Arabic Numeral Series 13 Director
1981 Arabic Numeral Series 10 Director
1981 Arabic Numeral Series 0 Director
1981 Arabic Numeral Series 9 Director
1981 Arabic Numeral Series 7 Director
1981 Arabic Numeral Series 5 Director
1981 Arabic Numeral Series 4 Director
1981 Arabic Numeral Series 3 Director
1981 Arabic Numeral Series 6 Director
1981 Arabic Numeral Series 1 Director
1981 Unconscious London Strata Director
1981 Arabic Numeral Series 2 Director
1981 Hell Spit Flexion Director
1981 The Garden of Earthly Delights Director
1981 Aftermath Director
1981 RR Director
1981 Nodes Director
1980 Roman Numeral: VI Director
1980 Sincerity IV Director
1980 Sincerity V Director
1980 Murder Psalm Director
1980 Duplicity III Director
1980 Roman Numeral: IX Director
1980 Roman Numeral: VIII Director
1980 Roman Numeral: VII Director
1980 Salome Director
1980 Roman Numeral: V Director
1980 Roman Numeral: IV Director
1980 Made Manifest Director
1980 Other Director
1979 Roman Numeral: I Director
1979 Roman Numeral: II Director
1979 Creation Director
1979 Roman Numeral: III Director
1979 @ Director
1978 Burial Path Director
1978 Thot-Fal'N Director
1978 Nightmare Series Director
1978 Duplicity Director
1978 Sluice Director
1978 Duplicity II Director
1978 Centre Director
1978 Bird Director
1978 Sincerity III Director
1978 Purity, and After Director
1977 The Governor Director
1977 Soldiers and Other Cosmic Objects Director
1977 The Domain of the Moment Director
1976 Window Director
1976 Short Films 1976 Director
1976 Trio Director
1976 Highs Director
1976 The Dream, NYC, The Return, The Flower Director
1976 Rembrandt, Etc., and Jane Director
1976 Tragoedia Director
1976 Absence Director
1976 Desert Director
1976 Airs Director
1975 Short Films 1975 #10 Director
1975 Short Films 1975 #9 Director
1975 Short Films 1975 Director
1975 Sincerity II Director
1974 The Text of Light Director
1974 Star Garden Director
1974 Sol Director
1974 He Was Born, He Suffered, He Died Director
1974 Skein Director
1974 Hymn to Her Director
1974 Aquarien Director
1974 Dominion Director
1974 Flight Director
1974 The Stars Are Beautiful Director
1974 Clancy Director
1973 Gift Director
1973 Sincerity I Director
1972 The Riddle of Lumen Director
1972 The Process Director
1972 Sexual Meditation: Open Field Director
1972 Sexual Meditation: Faun's Room, Yale Director
1972 Sexual Meditation: Office Suite Director
1972 Sexual Meditation: Hotel Director
1972 The Wold Shadow Director
1972 The Shores of Phos: A Fable Director
1972 Eye Myth Educational Director
1972 The Presence Director
1971 The Trip to Door Director
1971 Fox Fire Child Watch Director
1971 Deus Ex Director
1971 Door Director
1971 The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes Director
1971 Sexual Meditation: Room with View Director
1971 The Peaceable Kingdom Director
1971 Western History Director
1971 Angels' Director
1970 Eyes Director
1970 The Animals of Eden and After Director
1970 The Machine of Eden Director
1970 The Weir-Falcon Saga Director
1970 Scenes from Under Childhood Director
1970 Scenes from Under Childhood, Section Four Director
1970 Sexual Meditation #1: Motel Director
1969 Scenes from Under Childhood, Section Two Director
1969 Song 27 (Part II) Rivers Director
1969 Window Suite of Children's Songs Director
1969 American 30's Song Director
1969 Song 28 Director
1969 Song 29 Director
1969 Scenes from Under Childhood, Section Three Director
1968 Lovemaking Director
1968 My Mountain Song 27 Director
1968 Song 26 Director
1968 The Horseman, the Woman, and the Moth Director
1967 23rd Psalm Branch: Part II Director
1967 23rd Psalm Branch Director
1967 For Life, Against the War Director
1967 Song 24 Director
1967 Scenes from Under Childhood, Section One Director
1967 Song 25 Director
1967 Eye Myth Director
1966 23rd Psalm Branch: Part I Director
1965 Two: Creeley/McClure Director
1965 Fire of Waters Director
1965 Black Vision Director
1965 The Art of Vision Director
1965 Song 19 Director
1965 Song 14 Director
1965 Song 13 Director
1965 Song 12 Director
1965 Song 17 Director
1965 Song 9 Director
1965 Song 10 Director
1965 Vein Director
1965 Song 18 Director
1965 Song 16 Director
1965 Pasht Director
1965 Song 20 Director
1965 Song 21 Director
1965 Blood's Tone Director
1965 Song 22 Director
1965 15 Song Traits Director
1965 Bluewhite Director
1965 Song 11 Director
1964 Dog Star Man: Part IV Director
1964 Dog Star Man Director
1964 Dog Star Man: Part III Director
1964 Song 1 Director
1964 Song 7 Director
1964 Song 3 Director
1964 Song 4 Director
1964 Song 8 Director
1964 Song 2 Director
1964 Song 6 Director
1964 Song 5 Director
1963 Mothlight Director
1963 Oh Life - a Woe Story - the A Test News Director
1963 Dog Star Man: Part II Director
1962 Blue Moses Director
1962 Prelude: Dog Star Man Director
1962 Dog Star Man: Part I Director
1961 Thigh Line Lyre Triangular Director
1961 Films by Stan Brakhage: An Avant-Garde Home Movie Director
1960 The Dead Director
1960 Mr. Tompkins Inside Himself Director
1959 Sirius Remembered Director
1959 Cat's Cradle Director
1959 Wedlock House: An Intercourse Director
1959 Window Water Baby Moving Director
1958 Anticipation of the Night Director
1957 Loving Director
1957 Daybreak and Whiteye Director
1956 Centuries of June Director
1956 Flesh of Morning Director
1956 Zone Moment Director
1956 Nightcats Director
1955 The Wonder Ring Director
1955 Reflections on Black Director
1955 In Between Director
1954 The Extraordinary Child Director
1954 The Way to Shadow Garden Director
1954 Desistfilm Director
1953 Unglassed Windows Cast a Terrible Reflection Director
1952 Interim Director

Acting

2012 Free Radicals: A History of Experimental Film as Himself
2009 For Stan as Himself
2006 Notes on Marie Menken as Himself (archive footage)
2002 Stan Brakhage Exits the Cinema and Enters the Light of Day as Himself
2002 In the Mirror of Maya Deren as Himself
2002 Vakvagany as Himself
2001 Garden Path
2000 As I Was Moving Ahead Occasionally I Saw Brief Glimpses of Beauty as Himself
2000 Looking at Forest of Bliss as Himself
1998 Brakhage as Himself
1997 Birth of a Nation as Himself
1995 As Is Was
1994 Jonas in the Desert as Himself
1993 Cannibal! The Musical as Noon Sr.
1993 Z (Zee Not Zed)
1991 Joseph Cornell: Worlds in a Box as Himself
1989 Watunna as Narrator
1988 I... Dreaming
1988 Faust's Other: An Idyll
1986 Invocation: Maya Deren
1984 Tortured Dust
1978 Grand Opera: An Historical Romance as Himself (voice)
1974 The Stars Are Beautiful as Narrator
1972 Screening Room (1 episode) as Himself
1971 Reality's Invisible as Himself
1969 Diaries, Notes, and Sketches as Himself
1969 Filmmakers as Himself
1965 The Art of Vision as Man
1964 Dog Star Man
1964 Dog Star Man: Part IV
1964 Dog Star Man: Part III
1964 Song 1
1963 Dog Star Man: Part II
1962 Prelude: Dog Star Man
1962 Dog Star Man: Part I
1959 Cat's Cradle as Self
1959 Wedlock House: An Intercourse
1959 Window Water Baby Moving as Self (Father)
1956 Flesh of Morning
1956 The One Romantic Venture of Edward
1956 Trumpit
1954 The Extraordinary Child

Editing

1986 Jane Editor
1978 Thot-Fal'N Editor
1974 The Stars Are Beautiful Editor
1971 The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes Editor
1967 23rd Psalm Branch: Part II Editor
1965 The Art of Vision Editor
1964 Dog Star Man Editor
1964 Song 1 Editor
1964 Song 5 Editor
1962 Blue Moses Editor
1961 Thigh Line Lyre Triangular Editor
1960 Mr. Tompkins Inside Himself Editor
1959 Window Water Baby Moving Editor
1955 The Wonder Ring Editor
1955 Reflections on Black Editor
1955 In Between Editor
1954 The Extraordinary Child Editor
1954 The Way to Shadow Garden Editor
1954 Desistfilm Editor
1953 Unglassed Windows Cast a Terrible Reflection Editor
1952 Interim Editor

Crew

1986 Jane Cinematography
1978 Thot-Fal'N Cinematography
1974 The Stars Are Beautiful Cinematography
1967 23rd Psalm Branch: Part II Cinematography
1965 The Art of Vision Cinematography
1964 Song 5 Cinematography
1964 Song 1 Cinematography
1962 Blue Moses Cinematography
1961 Thigh Line Lyre Triangular Cinematography
1959 Window Water Baby Moving Cinematography
1955 The Wonder Ring Cinematography
1955 Reflections on Black Cinematography
1955 In Between Cinematography
1954 The Extraordinary Child Cinematography
1954 The Way to Shadow Garden Cinematography
1954 Desistfilm Cinematography
1953 Unglassed Windows Cast a Terrible Reflection Cinematography
1952 Interim Cinematography

Writing

1974 The Stars Are Beautiful Writer
1972 Eye Myth Educational Writer
1964 Dog Star Man Writer
1962 Blue Moses Writer
1960 Mr. Tompkins Inside Himself Writer
1955 Reflections on Black Writer
1955 In Between Writer
1954 The Extraordinary Child Writer
1954 The Way to Shadow Garden Writer
1954 Desistfilm Writer
1953 Unglassed Windows Cast a Terrible Reflection Writer
1952 Interim Writer

Camera

1971 Nuptiae Director of Photography
1971 The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes Director of Photography
1964 Dog Star Man Director of Photography

Production

1965 The Art of Vision Producer

Sound

1954 The Way to Shadow Garden Sound Designer

By signing up for an account on TMDb, you can post directly to Twitter and Facebook.

You need to be logged in to continue. Click here to login or here to sign up.

Global

s focus the search bar
p open profile menu
esc close an open window
? open keyboard shortcut window

On media pages

b go back (or to parent when applicable)
e go to edit page

On TV season pages

(right arrow) go to next season
(left arrow) go to previous season

On TV episode pages

(right arrow) go to next episode
(left arrow) go to previous episode

On all image pages

a open add image window

On all edit pages

t open translation selector
ctrl+ s submit form

On discussion pages

n create new discussion
w toggle watching status
p toggle public/private
c toggle close/open
a open activity
r reply to discussion
l go to last reply
ctrl+ enter submit your message
(right arrow) next page
(left arrow) previous page