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2002.
29

Interpretations, contests

Kenneth Anger’s films

Film director, actor and publisher Kenneth Anger was born in Santa Monica (South California) in 1930. He was raised in Hollywood so that he made his film debut as early as 1935, in a Hollywood comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream. He was very young when he started shooting short films; he made his first masterpiece Fireworks at the age of 17 (1947). The film masterfully interweaved scenes of accentuated homosexuality and raw violence securing him a place among the pioneers of the American avant-garde movement of the 40s, the likes of Maya Deren, James Broughton, Curtis Harrington and others. Themes of violence and homosexuality continued to figure in his later works, like Scorpio Rising (1964) and Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969). His absorption with mighty machines and American popular culture was especially prominent in his most famous film Scorpio Rising, and a bit less in the stylistic miniature Kustom Kar Kommandos (1965).

However, his greatest passion remained the teaching of the famous Satanist and occultist Alistair Crowley. Under his influence, obsessed with occult and mystical themes, Anger directed the movies Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954), Invocation of My Demon Brother and Lucifer Rising (1973-1980). Finally, one must not forget his fascination with Hollywood, especially with the silent film, which resulted in a beautiful short film Puce Moment (1949) and the books Hollywood Babylon and Hollywood Babylon II, describing the hidden worlds of Hollywood stars. Anger spent his life outside the establishment of the classical film production, barely succeeding to raise money for his projects. For that reason he shot all his films on 16mm tape and never used dialogues. On the other hand, the scarcity forced him to express freely, to make most of his poetical spirit and an unusual talent for filmmaking. His films abound with fascinating, hypnotic, surreal atmosphere, which does not fade even after numerous viewings. Anger belongs to those original directors whose works have made a significant impact on several generations of young filmmakers.

A text is supplemented by a Anger’s filmography (as a director and as an actor).



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