This evening’s Canyon Cinema Salon blooms out of the joy and desire to continue with what we began on the Salon of December 15th, that is, an exploration into Stan Brakhage’s photographed films in celebration of his new love and marriage to his second wife, Marilyn. In the first Salon we screened Visions in Meditation #2 and #3, two shorter-form films (just under 20 minutes), made in 1989 and 1990. In 1991 Stan began what was to be another four-part series called The Vancouver Island films, beginning with the magnificent 74 minute A Child’s Garden and the Serious Sea, a loving celebration of Marilyn’s childhood home and surroundings.
In this evening’s salon we will show and discuss the third film in the Vancouver series, the 49 minute, The God of Day Had Gone Down Upon Him made nearly ten years later in the year 2000. Stan continues to celebrate Marilyn’s youth, but now life is quite different. Stan had contracted severe bladder cancer cancer five years earlier and having survived the operation, his life expectancy was brief. This epic and difficult work is torn by Stan’s love of Marilyn in the midst of his own fear and sadness of what remaining life has to offer. This dark and gorgeous film has all of these conflicts woven into its syntax, into its montage. I would like to continue our discussion of form and meaning in terms of what we actually see in the film itself and also consider the structural problems of a longer film form.