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At first it might seem hermetic, but this silent 1967 film poem on war and violence is one of the staggering masterpieces of film history. Responding to TV images of the Vietnam war, Stan Brakhage mined World War II newsreels and personal footage of home and travels to explore the inner roots of violence; as a letter he writes on-screen suggests, “The checkerboards and zig-zags of Man” make an “eye's hell.” Intercutting shots with the frame line in different positions (viewers often wrongly assume there's a problem with the projector) produces a jarring perceptual violence as well as a meditation on the horror of crowds, which is counterposed with the loneliness and doubt of the artist-traveler. 85 min.

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