Prelude 4 (Stan Brakhage, 1996, USA)

Prelude 04 begins with a series of paintings. The paintings are various hues of blues, purple, and red. What starts as splotches of color evolves into large images of colors. White fades to largely blue, as the colors begin to fully dominate the screen. The paintings create the sensation of looking through a slightly obscured lens. Flowers are another thing that this film can remind us of. Often the colors are purely red, creating the sense that we are looking into a human body. The colors begin to change into hues of purple, blue, and red as the film progresses. Here we see more splotches of color, jagged edges of color that appear on the screen almost as blotches. The screen then begins to fade to white as we only receive the faintest hints of color. This changes once again as we get a set of very dark-colored paintings, mostly hues of purple and blue. The reds resurface, this time the paintings arriving in more rapid succession than they did previously in the film. The paintings ebb and flow with darkness and light. Sometimes we see what appears to be a clear frame with only the slightest appearance of colors, while at other times the color is so prominent to entirely engulf the frame. This creates the sensation again of looking at blood or something related to the human body. Blue hues then begin to become more apparent, perhaps carrying the connotation of cloud formations. 

Prelude 04 was one of the many filmed painting series that Brakhage made in the 1990s. It forms the part of a larger series. The choice to use the word "Prelude" to title the film is indicative of the larger trend toward musicality in Brakhage's filmography. Here more than ever the sense of the film being a piece of music is present.


6/10

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