Synopsis by David Lewis
Regarding Notebook, filmmaker Marie Menken once stated that "these are too tiny or too obvious for comment, but one or two are my dearest children." Menken was being far too humble, as Notebook is considered by many aficionados of experimental cinema as being her greatest work. Notebook was assembled in 1962 and 1963 from bits and pieces of films Menken had shot over the years; some of these short takes date as far back as the late '40s. Individual segments are organized into brief chapters, which include such experiments as single-frame footage of neon signs at night, single-frame footage of the moon, a shot of a leaf collecting water in a light rainstorm, and others. Stan Brakhage stayed with Menken and her husband, Willard Maas, when he first settled in New York in the 1950s. Brakhage was shown many of the individual pieces that ultimately made up Notebook, and later gladly acknowledged his own stylistic debt to them, which is most readily apparent in Brakhage's Anticipation of the Night (1958).