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Poster for RPM Fest Presents Hymn to Her: Films by Stan Brakhage and Barbara Hammer

RPM Fest Presents Hymn to Her: Films by Stan Brakhage and Barbara Hammer

Coming on February 11

Run Time: 90 min.

RPM and the Brattle Theatre are thrilled to announce a presentation featuring a collection of six films by avant-garde filmmakers Stan Brakhage and Barbara Hammer. Born as Mary Jane Collom, Jane Wodening (1936 – 2023), a pivotal figure, is featured in numerous films within this series.

Jane Wodening, an American Writer and Naturalist, authored an impressive 14 books and played a pivotal role as a collaborator alongside Experimental Filmmaker Stan Brakhage. The duo, who married in 1957 and later separated in 1987, left an indelible mark on the world of experimental cinema.

Stan Brakhage, known for his lyrical films exploring themes of family, childhood, personal experiences, and mortality, often featured himself and his family as central subjects. The 1959 experimental short film “Window Water Baby Moving” chronicles the birth of their first child. All films will be presented in their original 16mm prints. The first three silent pieces, “Hymn to Her” (1974), “Jane” (1985), and “Window Water Baby Moving” (1959), showcase Brakhage’s early exploration of intimate and familial themes. The program then transitions to two rare sound films by Stan Brakhage, “The Stars are Beautiful” (1974) and “I…Dreaming” (1988).

The screening culminates with Barbara Hammer’s powerful piece, “Jane Brakhage” (1974), which provides a feminist perspective on Jane, absent in Stan’s own work.

This film was preserved by Electronic Arts Intermix and the Academy Film Archive through the National Film Preservation Foundation’s Avant-Garde Masters Grant program and The Film Foundation. Funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation.

Hymn to Her
Stan Brakhage | 1974 | 2.5 minutes | COLOR | SILENT

Stan Brakhage | 1985 | 13 minutes | COLOR | SILENT

Window Water Baby Moving
Stan Brakhage | 1959 | 12 minutes | COLOR | SILENT

The Stars Are Beautiful
Stan Brakhage | 1974 | 19 minutes | COLOR | SOUND

Stan Brakhage | 1988 | 8 minutes | COLOR | SOUND

Jane Brakhage
Barbara Hammer | 1974 | 10 minutes | B&W | SOUND

Stan Brakhage “Born in Kansas City, Missouri in 1933, Brakhage moved to Denver, Colorado at the age of six. He sang as a boy soprano soloist, dreamed of being a poet, and graduated from South High School in 1951 with a scholarship to Dartmouth. After one semester, he left to pursue a life in the Arts, returning to Denver to make his first film in 1952.

“As a young man, Brakhage lived in San Francisco and New York associating with many other poets, musicians, painters and filmmakers, including Robert Duncan, Kenneth Rexroth, John Cage, Edgard Varese, Joseph Cornell, Maya Deren and Marie Menken. A youthful “poet-with-a-camera,” Brakhage soon emerged as a significant film artist, evolving an entirely new form of first person, lyrical cinema.

“Brakhage married Jane Collom in 1957, and from the early 60s they lived in Rollinsville, Colorado, making films and raising their five children. Brakhage also continued to travel around the country and abroad becoming a leading figure of the American avant-garde film movement. He lived in Boulder from1986, and in 2002 moved to Canada with his second wife, Marilyn, and their two children. 

“Before his death in March, 2003, Brakhage had completed more than 350 films, ranging from the psycho-dramatic works of the early 1950s to autobiographical lyrics, mythological epics, “documents,” and metaphorical film ‘poems’ — variously employing his uniquely developed hand-held camera and rapid editing techniques, multiple superimpositions, collages, photographic abstractions, and elaborate hand-painting applied directly to the surface of the film. A deeply personal filmmaker, Brakhage’s great project was to explore the nature of light and all forms of vision – while encompassing a vast range of subject matter. He frequently referred to his works as “visual music,” or as documents of “moving visual thinking.” The majority of his films are intentionally silent.

“Brakhage taught at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and as Distinguished Professor of Film Studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder. The recipient of three Honorary Degrees and numerous prestigious awards, he lectured extensively on filmmaking and the Arts, and is the author of 11 books – including his seminal 1963 work, Metaphors On Vision, and his more recent series of essays, Telling Time.”

Marilyn Brakhage
Victoria, BC Canada

Barbara Hammer is a visual artist primarily working in film and video. Her work reveals and celebrates marginalized peoples whose stories have not been told. Her cinema is multi-leveled and engages an audience viscerally and intellectually with the goal of activating them to make social change. She has been honored with 5 retrospectives in the last 3 years: The Museum of Modern Art in New York City, Tate Modern in London, Jeu de Paume in Paris, the Toronto International Film Festival and Kunsthalle Oslo in Norway. Her book Hammer! Making Movies Out of Sex and Life was published in 2010 by The Feminist Press at The City University of New York.

Please visit for more information.

Revolutions per Minute Festival (RPM Fest) is dedicated to short-form poetic, personal, experimental film, essay film, animation, documentary, video and audiovisual performance, and is co-hosted by Art and Art History Department and Cinema Studies at UMass-Boston, Brattle Theatre in Cambridge & Harvard FAS CAMLab.

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