Mothlight, a film by Stan Brakhage


One of the common methods of making a no-budget abstract film was to scratch or paint directly onto the film itself, a technique popularised by Len Lye in the 1930s. Mothlight (1963) by Stan Brakhage works a variation on the process by gluing broken moth wings, leaves and other bits of natural detritus to a length of film. It only runs for three minutes but it’s a classic piece of experimental cinema. As usual with Brakhage, the titles are hand-drawn, and the film itself is silent.

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2 thoughts on “Mothlight, a film by Stan Brakhage”

  1. Beautifully alluded to in Strickland’s The Duke of Burgandy.

    Remember reading that when Tarkovsky visited the States a screening of Brakhage’s films was arranged. Tarkovsky was nonplussed, resulting in awkward moment when the directors were introduced.

  2. Oh, I didn’t know Strickland referenced this. I’m still waiting for DoB to appear on disc.

    No surprise about Tarkovsky, really. I love his films but for all their poetic moments they’re filled with people incessantly talking and philosophising. I can see how fragmented, silent cinema wouldn’t make a great deal of sense.

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