Eye Myth (Stan Brakhage, 1977, USA)

Eye Myth is a noteworthy short from filmmaker Stan Brakhage, made in 1967. Though running a mere 9 seconds, the film took a year for him to make. The actual release date of the film seems subject to some debate, as the film was first released on 16mm in 1972. However, the proper 35mm version was not shown until the 1981 Telluride Film Festival. Strangely, IMDb lists the release date of the film as 1977. Brakhage described the film as follows: "In the eyes, constantly, the eyes are flaring with little... stories, little forms, and shapes, some of which are quite disturbing."

The film extends the director's known painted film technique. It starts with a white screen, which quickly changes into a flurry of color, with the image and colors changing rapidly - it almost appears to be a jungle. Within this jungle of color, two figures briefly emerge. The first is a shirtless man who can be seen bursting from the color and then quickly being hidden behind it once again. The second figure then emerges in the right foreground of the image. This figure appears differently than the shirtless man and seems to be older.

What is the film all about? The uniqueness of the film is perhaps that it can be watched multiple times without blinking due to the short length, which perhaps is suggested by the film's title. The film is almost so brief that it is difficult to process in one viewing, and Brakhage's film is working on an almost subconscious level. He is in the terrain of many abstract artists. Brakhage has a way of infusing lots of significance into very short films, as he did with his earlier effort Moth Light. We are curious here at Cinephilic Musings to see more of his long-form work and explore it.



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