Looking through the glass “Window Water Baby Moving”, a Review

A window is seen followed by the appearance of a lower torso that is happened to be from a woman. A woman who is pregnant seems to be happy “playing” and taking a bath in the bathtub. Repeating scenes are seen where the camera is focusing the woman’s face. A light from the sun is going through the transparent window causing the woman to close her eyes. A man’s face is then seen who is also happy, happy with his pregnant wife. The man is Stan Brakhage and his wife, Jane filming their own. A scene which is supposed to be happening in the hospital is being shown signifying that Jane is labouring with her first child. Then water comes out of Jane’s vagina saying that the baby who stayed for nine long months is desperate to come out in this world. Blood then scattered everywhere on a white cloth. Jane’s face is shown, struggling. Minutes passed by, the baby’s head is there to come out giving Jane an extra effort to push. To cut this short, a healthy baby girl comes out of Jane’s vagina and the hardship is complemented with another life. The operation ended.

The film, Window Water Baby Moving, is like showing only the hardship and effort it takes to labor and pregnancy, with all that vagina of Jane, the blood, the tummy, the baby and so others are being shown. But it is wrong for you think about as simple as that. It is because Window Water Baby Moving is not-your-typical baby coming out of the vagina or you may call it a little pornographic scene. Window Water Baby Moving is an experimental film.

But why it is experimental? Here are the reasons for it. One, aside from the fact that it is not a typical Youtube video of pregnancy, it is a film where the director and the actors are one. The director of the film is Stock Brakhage while the actors are Jane Brakhage and Stan. Simple as that. Two, it is not your typical or common film showing a protagonist and antagonist fighting with each other supporting the fact that it has no major plot or no plot at all. You may be thinking what is going on especially in the first scenes. Three, there is no production designs, no studios, no extensive editing or no effects with the fact that the director is the actor. He is only one doing much for it. Four, it is only short, running for only 12 minutes and you could not imagine that the goal of the film wants to show is achieve with that short period of time. We all know that filmmaking is very expensive and independent filmmakers like Brakhage could not afford to produce one, longer and high in quality. Fifth, the film is done from the self-imagination of the director, adding metaphorical scenes. It also break the conventional way of doing a film where all people can relate to or ever imagine to while it never fail to show under the table what Brakhage really want to show to the audiences, purely his imagination and interpretation that no one knows except him.

Window Water Baby Moving gives the audiences the right to interpret, as it is experimental. There many elements that can be seen in the movie from the fact that is metaphorical. Yes, the film encompasses the doings of pregnancy operation, with that equipments and stuff. What is different with the film is that the operation is done in Brakhage’s house. The ritual of right and true pregnancy operation does not set to be shown in the film. What really is done is the filming of it in the house which is Brakhage’s idea. It is  Brakhage’s dream of doing it for experimental one. There are also symbolisms used in the film. The blood would mean the hardship in pushing the baby out. It also complements the color of the film. There are dark colors or darkish red or reddish dark throughout the film except when the baby has come out where light comes out. There is also this scene where Stan and Jane are kissing each other and repeatedly comes before Stock caressing Jane’s tummy. What would that mean is their sexual intercourse. It is showing the kissing and then the caressing of the tummy where there is a baby there giving some kind of hidden chronology for pregnancy. With all these rituals and dreams and symbolisms, it cannot be attained without Brakhage’s idea of putting a different kind of cinematography presentation. It really helps (for the audiences) to cope up with the “bad” scenes in the pregnancy the repetition of scenes and immediately swaying away the exiting baby in the vagina. The audience are reacting so much but it would be worst if Brakhage is just focusing in the vagina. What Brakhage also used is taking and showing only half-body shots and close-ups. This has good and bad. Good is that the audiences are just focusing to only one scene without bother looking at others which did not happen. It also closes the wider range of audiences’ imagination into single one. The bad thing is that the audiences cannot look directly especially when it shows the vagina and the baby coming out. It also make the audience to imagine the environment in the face of Jane, for instance, without any clues for the fact that it is also in the good side.

It is being said that films are the product mind of the production teams and in the experimental film like Window Water Baby Moving, the mindset of actor-director. I do not get it why Brakhage had tried filming his wife’s labor. One thing for sure is that it is being done with the couple’s decision. Although it shows the vagina and all without anything left to Jane, the film does not make sense of downgrading women’s honor. This is what I think Brakhage thought. It also gave men and women audiences another kind of perspective towards labor and pregnancy. The film has the courage to show things we do not normally see and we would learn that there exists a better imagination we think we already have.

What I do not only like about the film is that it has no sound. Sound can give another imagination to the audiences but I think, no sound and with sound, this film really helps me to open my mind in such cases like pregnancy and delivery.


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