The act of seeing with ones own eyes…

There were many craven moments on Sunday’s Oscar-cast, but the one I found most truly offensive was the inclusion of Stan Brakhage in annual post mortem montage. After steadfastly ignoring his work for nigh on to fifty years, to include him after he died marks a low point in smarmy self congratulation.

Aside from the fact that the stupid agglomeration of clips probably cost more to make than all of Brakhage’s film combined, and that he himself spent the final years of his life strapped for cash.


  1. It’s to laugh

    Since the entire awards ceremony is a can’t-not-look car-wreck of ego, money, insecurity, vanity, and excess, it’s most amusing the airs and portent the whole affair takes on, deluding itself that they are in any way concerned with art, when the only thing it and Hollywood actually is about is commerce, with which it is phenomenally good at.

    And here’s a little bit of trivia — although most people have never seen one of his films, virtually everyone has seen some of Brakhage’s work: one of his pieces of commercial work was the shot of a bottle of Downy fabric softener falling in slow motion into a stack of fluffy towels.

  2. not a schmuck

    no, i understand why it pisses you off. it pisses me off that kenneth anger is poor and struggling, too. hell, it pisses HIM off, as far as i can tell.

    but it was nice to see him honored on national tv, alongside, say, kate hepburn. it meant something to me that he didn’t sink without a trace as so many important artists are doomed to in our culture. we treat, say, military officials and serial killers far better.

  3. I think even we make the mistake of assuming that anything is about art in the first place.

    Yeah I always liked the Downy commercial sort of a populists “Waveleanth” but a hell of a lot faster.

    The artists credo should be make art, live fast. have fucked up sex, die, then become rich.

  4. Re: It’s to laugh

    when the only thing it and Hollywood actually is about is commerce, with which it is phenomenally good at.

    I’m not sure I agree with that either. The video-game industry, for instance, is now larger than the movie industry. The computer industry is far, far larger.

    What the film industry is really good at is shameless self-promotion. Day in, day out…

  5. Re: It’s to laugh

    Hollywood is very good at making money. I didn’t say they were the best at it, certainly not the only entertainment in town.

    The computer industry encompasses a lot, and really can’t be compared — kinda like saying Hollywood isn’t as good as the energy industry, or the financial industry.

    But it’s interesting to note that comparing industries that can fall under the umbrella “entertainment,” the most popular and profitable one of all is the porn industry.

    The porn industry — that is, our desire and need to get our rocks off — has actually driven technology — it’s the reason why Polaroid cameras, the VCR, the video camera, and now the internet were and are so phenomenally popular.

  6. I felt the same way during the Satyajit Ray tribute at the ’92 Oscars. I remember everybody thinking “Who?” Luckily, he was still (barely) alive, and his Apu Trilogy at least is now available on DVD.

  7. Actually Vakvagany has been shown several times the last few weeks on either IFC or the Sundance Channel. It’s an intense, strangely absorbing film that drew me right in the day I happened on it while channel surfing.

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