Sunday 23 July 2017

Dog Star Man (1962)

Dog Star Man
I like video art, I really do, but Stan Brakhage’s ”Dog Star Man” did absolutely nothing for me.

I have a hard time explaining what I saw, partly because it made no sense at all and partly because I had serious trouble maintaining attention on the film. Instead my attention strayed everywhere else and whenever it returned to the screen it was just more of the same.

There were some solar flares, some close-ups of body parts, sometimes internal body parts. There was a man walking up a hill in snow with a dog and an axe over his shoulder. Those pictures were very confused, but I got the impression it was not going so well for him. There was a baby and some faces, maybe religious, and the whole thing was mixed with scratches, quick cuts and false colors.

There is no sound to this thing. At first I thought it was a mistake so I found another version on YouTube, but that was the same. Even silent movies come with a sound track.

Video art is hit or miss and this is definitely a miss for me. I feel annoyed, not just for wasting an hour and fifteen minutes on this thing, but because this film takes a slot on the List in a year where there are several movies that should have been there. That is not a fault of the movie, but of the editors of the List. I will sort of pretend that they got the spot instead and will be including at least three extra movies for 1962.

There is not really a lot more I can say about “Dog Star Man”. I understand that this is widely acclaimed so obviously somebody get something out of it.

On another not, this is my 400th movie on the List, so there will be an anniversary post coming up soon.


  1. Congratulations on the milestone! Persistence pays off. Not looking forward to this movie.

  2. Be glad it was only this five-parter and not Brakhage's four-hour opus The Art of Vision, made from the same footage.

    Then again, this is Dog Star Man, so there's no real defendable reason to be glad to watch it at all. :)

  3. I know I could not sit through the 4 hour version. It wold feel like torture. This was surely bad enough.