Arguably the most prolific and influential figure in all of American avant-garde cinema, Stan Brakhage made films so profoundly personal that viewing them is like plunging into the tumultuous processes of thought itself. His lifelong project was to rediscover the purity and intensity of perception that people possess until education and acculturation force our unfettered mental energies into a narrow range of socially approved patterns. Dog Star Man is exemplary Brakhage in every way, from it revolutionary aesthetic strategies to its philosophical vision of an existential hero questing for the infinite possibilities of being through physical, psychological, and spiritual journey into inner and outer space. The narrative line is minimal: a man (Brakhage) trudges up a mountainside with his dog. By contrast, the film's structure grows ever more complex, as five discrete sections weave an escalating number of superimposed images into a rapid-fire visual tapestry so intricate that an alternate, "unraveled" version, The Art of Vision, runs to about four-and-a-half hours. The title Dog Star Man can be taken as a nickname for the protagonist, or as an invocation of archetypal entities-the biological, the cosmological, the human-that intertwine as inextricably in this extraordinary film as in the innermost recesses of consciousness and unconsciousness themselves.
Taken from 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die by Steven Jay Schneider.