Mothlight

Mothlight
(Stan Brakhage, 3 mins., color, 1963)

As far as innovation goes, I’ve got to hand it to Stan Brakhage. Recycling old moth wings, taping them to clear film leader, and printing the results is a pretty interesting idea. However, the method outweighs the results. Flickering past at a rapid speed it is nearly impossible to differentiate the scattered parts.

I recall listening to recorded notes made by Brakhage and included on DVD of his work. He said he wanted to immortalize these creatures drawn to a light that also drew them towards death. In some ways he feels connected to moths. Brakhage himself is drawn to the light of a film projector, but his steady workload and lack of income was killing him.

The fleeting visuals may resemble the short life span of the moth, but they do little to highlight the natural beauty found in the various patterns and designs of moth wings. Perhaps, a more fitting tribute would have been to slow down time and take more longer, focused looks at moth wings. But, that would be a different film.

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