This, the first completed reel of work-in-progress, draws on autobiographical energies and images which reflect the first 20 years of my living. I have three definitions of the word “sincerity” to sustain my working along these lines of thought with this autobiographical material: (1) Ezra Pound’s marvelous mistranslation of a Chinese ideogram- “Sincerity… the sun’s lance coming to rest on the precise spot verbally”… (of which I would change, for my purposes, the last word to “visually”), (2) Robert Creeley’s trace-of-the-world for me on the back of a Buffalo restaurant menu- “Sym-keros…same growth (Ceres) create…of the same growth,” and (3) Hollis Frampton’s track-of-it to “the geek, viz.-‘a glazed pot’ (i.e. one which will hold water).” This film might best be seen, then, as a graph of light equivalent to autobiogral thought process. 16Mm 27 min., color, silent
Sincerity II (1975)
This continuation of my autobiography is composed of film photographed by many people: Bruce Baillie, Jane Brakhage, Larry Jordan and Stan Phillips, among others. Most of the footage is drawn from 20.000 feet of “home movies,” “out-takes” and the like, i’ve salvaged of my photography over the years. It is of the Brakhage family’s coming into being. / It is composed in the light of those electrical traces we call “memory”; and it is as true to that “thought process” as I was enabled to make it. 16mm, 38.5 min., color, silent.
Sincerity III (1978)
In the autobiographical tradition of earlier Sincerities, this film takes up the light-threads of our living 14 years ago when the Brakhage family found Home and “settled,” like they say, into some sense of permanence. This quality of living in one place tends to destroy most senses of chronology: thus, along lines-of-thought of growing and shifting physicality, events can seem to be occurring simultaneously (a thot-process ‘kin to that of The Domain of the Moment), and the memory of such a time IS prompted and sustained by details of living usually overlooked or taken- for-granted (such as Proust’s coolie which prompted Remembrance of Things Past). Michael McClure’s Fleas and Andrew Noren’s The Exquisite Corpse were additional sources of inspiration for the making of this work. 16 mm, 37.5 min., color, silent.
Sincerity IV (1980)
This, the 6th film of the Sincerity-Duplicity series, seems rooted in the earliest tradition of my work, Psycho-Drama, as well as in the most recent, Imagnostic, directions taken. It is remembrance as thought fashions it in lonely hotel rooms, sincere return of the mind to that which is loved, ephemeral faces of children growing older, familiar objects interwoven, with easy alien familiarity, the images of strangers in uneasy identification, sexual posture and the lure of The Beloved as irreductible image. 16mm, 37.5 min., color, silent.
Sincerity V (1980)
This, then, finishes eleven years of editing drawing on 30-some years of photography. I will surely work autobiographically again, but the modes of “Sincerity and Duplicity” seem completed with this film which, on the one hand, is as simple in its integrity-of-light as those follow-the-ball “sing along” early silent movies and as complicated as teen-age metamorphosis. Childhood dissolves in flame, struck from the hearth. 16mm, 41 min., color, silent.
Stan Brakhage. Film annotations.
From Essential Brakhage, edited by Bruce R. McPherson