Dog Star Man (1964) Poster


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Exemplary Brakhage in every way
nintendodude-6150527 December 2016
Arguably the most prolific and influential figure in all of American avant-garde cinema, Stan Brakhage made films so profoundly personal that viewing them is like plunging into the tumultuous processes of thought itself. His lifelong project was to rediscover the purity and intensity of perception that people possess until education and acculturation force our unfettered mental energies into a narrow range of socially approved patterns. Dog Star Man is exemplary Brakhage in every way, from it revolutionary aesthetic strategies to its philosophical vision of an existential hero questing for the infinite possibilities of being through physical, psychological, and spiritual journey into inner and outer space. The narrative line is minimal: a man (Brakhage) trudges up a mountainside with his dog. By contrast, the film's structure grows ever more complex, as five discrete sections weave an escalating number of superimposed images into a rapid-fire visual tapestry so intricate that an alternate, "unraveled" version, The Art of Vision, runs to about four-and-a-half hours. The title Dog Star Man can be taken as a nickname for the protagonist, or as an invocation of archetypal entities-the biological, the cosmological, the human-that intertwine as inextricably in this extraordinary film as in the innermost recesses of consciousness and unconsciousness themselves.

Taken from 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die by Steven Jay Schneider.
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Dog Star Man
jboothmillard5 August 2016
Warning: Spoilers
This experimental documentary style film is a combination of five short films, a prelude and four parts, and has been listed in the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You, that's the only reason I watched it to be honest. The five short films mainly consist of various images and colours that appear in quick rushing flashes, along with grainy and static flashes, there is no plot, there is no real subject matter, and there is absolutely no sound or music. The only remnants of content that could be classified as some sort of story, or point to the film, is footage of a bearded man in a murky, snowy landscape, in a forest on a mountain, climbing up from the woodland with his dog, hence the title. The man is seen stumbling up with the dog following, rolling in the snow, stopping with an axe to cut down some trees, struggling with his surroundings, chopping the wood and having a fire, and his blood flowing. Besides this, the flashing images are occasional long shots and things too close up to distinguish, as well as the camera zooming in and out, twisting and turning, sideways and shaking, and footage playing in slow motion and in reverse. The random flashes of footage seen throughout, besides the grainy scattering dots and static bits, include: a head of hair, flames, eyes closed, the moon and clouds, trees, solar flares of the Sun, car lights on a dark road, neon signs, a woman's breasts, rocks, a beating heart, the face of a man, a girl smiling or laughing, an old man with a beard lying down, a mention in words of the Solar photography from High Altitude Observatory in Boulder, Colorado, clouds going across the sky and the forest, someone rolling on the floor, a waterfall, snow dropping (almost an avalanche), blood cells, wet fleshy things, a baby in a cot, the face of a woman, a man without a shirt, stained glass windows of a church, a lactating nipple and a small village covered in snow. Director Stan Brakhage made his career making non-narrative films, this is obviously his most recognised work, specifically by the National Film Registry, and is considered a masterpiece, in my opinion is certainly something different, a film with no soundtrack whatsoever and no real point, just a man and his dog among many random flashes of things, it's not the sort of thing I'd watch more than once, but I can understand why some would recommend it, it is an interesting experimental film. Worth watching!
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I would give a 0 but the system does not let me.
weadasalpoder19 September 2018
There is not much to say about the material in question, putting it simply you have a dog and a man climbing a mountain for all the reasons you want it to give and...yeah they do, but you basically have to imagine 65% of the filmmaker's job. I know that this was done so that different viewers could build their story in a personal way and I peronally really like that idea to maybe improve your creativity but just be careful or you may end up becoming a "pretentious person" of the cinema, you know that kind of person who likes to see deep messages and various meanings in everything and lets his judgment be clouded by only a simple thing instead of be objective and see the reality, that's the only good thing I can think of.

Now the bad things....this is not a movie, the real movies have characters, stories, locations that have a narrative purpose to give a message or just be entertaining. This completely lacks one of them and the others that are presented are empty in content because you have to fill that content, and no being experimental doesn't excuse that.

Experimental cinema in easy words is try new techniques in an auditory, visual or narrative way, the auditory resource is 0 here that is not try new techniques that is remove them! Just imagine if I was making a movie and I want to be so "experimental" and I present to you a black screen with a sign in the middle that says "please imagine everything that happens in the movie, simply because I am very artistic and experimental I can get away with it." You will be pissed right? And with good reasons.

In conclusion this is not a movie...the only fact that it is considered one already and that has a passing grade is insulting, I consider this more for people who are studying cinema or something like that.

1/10 is the lowest I can give it and what it deserves just because it shows some interesting effects.
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One of the purest forms of cinema
elmoreeanjames27 December 2018
I really only write this review here instead of making a filmed review as I saw someone here say that film has story, characters, and a few other bits and pieces that I would argue are more in tune with literature and theater than film. Brakhage is one of the purest artist in cinema, if not the purest, containing few elements of the other art forms that film is so often confused for as possible. An amazing journey in perception.
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