From The Bard Observer, May 7, 1963. For me, one of my formative experiences of film as an art form was a screening of Sunrise at Columbia University’s Macmillan Theater during one of my first three semesters of college, at New York University, before I transferred to Bard College, two hours up the Hudson River, in early 1963, where I soon took over the Friday night film series. This particular screening, late in my first semester, may have actually been the second time I screened it rather than the first, because I recall it being greeted by hoots of derisive laughter the first time I showed it at Bard(which was quite unlike the screening I’d attended at Columbia, at least as I remember it), and I suspect that the defensive tone of this piece was provoked by that unhappy experience.
I believe it was at this screening of Sunrise (although it may have been at the previous one) that Stan Brakhage, visiting the campus with P. Adams Sitney in order to meet Robert Kelly, asked me if he could screen his Prelude beforehand. I agreed to show it (probably the first Brakhage film I saw, unless this was Desistfilm) afterwards but not before, because the mimeographed film series schedule had already listed Sunrise’s starting time.I recall Brakhage being a little miffed at having to play second fiddle to a Hollywood release (I hasten to add that this was years before he wrote and spoke with deep appreciation of Murnau’s art), but he agreed, and a lengthy audience discussion followed his own screening.… Read more »