The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes is a 1971 American experimental film by Stan Brakhage. It was filmed on 16mm without synchronized sound in a Pittsburgh morgue. The title is based on a literal translation of the term autopsy. The film is part of Brakhage's "Pittsburgh trilogy", a trio of "documentary" films Brakhage made about the city's various institutions in 1971; the other two are Eyes, about the city police, and Deus Ex, filmed in a hospital. Writing about the film, American critic Jonathan Rosenbaum referred to The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes as "one of the most direct confrontations with death ever recorded on film."
Brakhage shot The Act of Seeing with One's Own Eyes during a visit to a morgue, and the bulk of the film consists of images of autopsies. In a Senses of Cinema profile of the filmmaker, filmmaker and curator Brian Frye wrote: "The key image of The Act of Seeing With One's Own Eyes is quite likely the bluntest statement on the human condition ever filmed. In the course of an autopsy, the skin around the scalp is slit with a scalpel, and in preparation for exposing and examining the brain, the face of each cadaver is literally peeled off, like a mask, revealing the raw meat beneath. That image, once seen, will never leave you."
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