Anger Me Some More

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Thanks yet again to Frater FS for scouring the newspapers for this item, a very interesting article from the Vancouver Sun (4 January 2007) regarding Kenneth Anger and the excellent Anger Me documentary…

Anger’s first film launched him on a career as an avant-garde and experimental filmmaker who influenced even mainstream directors, such as Martin Scorsese and David Lynch. He may not be a name recognized by most people but Anger worked with or was friends with people such as Alfred Kinsey, the famed sex researcher, French writers and filmmakers Jean Cocteau and Jean Genet, and Mick Jagger.

Anger talks about his films and his influences, including the occultist Aleister Crowley, in Anger Me, a biographical documentary being shown at Pacific Cinematheque as part of Look Back on Anger starting Friday at 7 p.m.
Anger influenced mainstream film directors: Avant-garde filmmaker
influenced such directors as Martin Scorsese
Vancouver Sun, Final, Sec. WestCoast Life, p D11 (04-01-2007)
By Kevin Griffin

At the age of 17, while his parents were away for a long weekend,
Kenneth Anger behaved like the precocious teenager he was and invited
several sailors to his home in Beverly Hills to make a film. What was on
Anger’s mind were the Zoot suit riots in Los Angeles in the early 1940s
when U.S. sailors attacked Mexican-Americans wearing zoot suits —
loose-fitting, baggy dance suits.

But Anger wasn’t interested in creating a short film with a traditional
narrative about a racial incident. Instead, Anger wanted to create
something much different: a dream film about a protagonist — played by
Anger — who journeys through his own subconscious, which in this case
happens to include homoerotic and sadomasochistic encounters with
muscular sailors.

Over the course of 72 hours, Anger created Fireworks. What’s remarkable
is that Anger made Fireworks as a teenager on his own in 1947, a time of
social and political conservatism after the Second World War and years
before the modern start of the gay rights movement, after the Stonewall
Riots in New York in 1969.

Anger’s first film launched him on a career as an avant-garde and
experimental filmmaker who influenced even mainstream directors, such as
Martin Scorsese and David Lynch. He may not be a name recognized by most
people but Anger worked with or was friends with people such as Alfred
Kinsey, the famed sex researcher, French writers and filmmakers Jean
Cocteau and Jean Genet, and Mick Jagger.

Anger talks about his films and his influences, including the occultist
Aleister Crowley, in Anger Me, a biographical documentary being shown at
Pacific Cinematheque as part of Look Back on Anger starting Friday at 7
p.m. Also being shown in the program are 11 of Anger’s short films,
including Fireworks.

Rather than having film historians and experts talk about Anger and his
works, director Elio Gelmini has chosen instead to focus on Anger
himself by letting the filmmaker talk as snippets from his films plays
in the background over his shoulder. The choice is a smart one as Anger
comes across as an intelligent and articulate commentator on his career.
It also whets your appetite for Anger’s films.

Besides his visual works, Anger is also known for writing Volume 1 and
Volume 2 of Hollywood Babylon, which ranks as one of the best titles
ever created about Hollywood. The best sellers recount untold stories of
Hollywood ambition, success and failure.

Toward the end of Anger Me, Anger acknowledges that he’s always created
films outside of the American mainstream. Anger said that he’s happy
with his choice and has no regrets.

“I want maximum freedom and minimum restrictions,” Anger says.

Among the films being shown in Look Back on Anger are:

Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, 1954: Inspired by the neo-pagan
rituals of Crowley, characters from classic mythology cavort in a
witches’ orgy, according to the Pacific Cinematheque film guide.

“This brilliant avant-garde milestone explodes in an hallucinatory
crescendo of montage and superimposition.’

Scorpio Rising, 1964: Considered to be his masterpiece, Scorpio Rising
uses outlaw bikers and their rebel mythology to subvert American myths
and machismo. Anger used pop music for the first time as the soundtrack
for a film, a technique now used everywhere in music videos. The film
was also seized by police at a midnight screening in Los Angeles but was
later found acceptable during a obscenity hearing for its ‘redeeming
social value.’

In Anger Me, Anger recalls how the court ruling on Scorpio Rising was
used by the pornography industry in California to fight censorship. But
Anger distances himself from porn, saying the explicit portrayal of
sexual acts is boring and devoid of the feeling, emotion and symbolism
he was always interested in.

Kustom Kar Kommando, 1965: A three-minute fragment from an abandoned
project, the film looks at how hot rodders turn their vehicles into
fetish objects without being aware of what they’re doing.

Lucifer Rising, 1970-80: As a pagan, Anger believes that Lucifer is the
bringer of light to the world. Lucifer Rising is based on Crowley’s Hymn
to Lucifer and features a soundtrack by Manson follower Bobby
Beausoleil.

“Anger’s lush, exotic, extravagant film, shot in spots deemed holy by
sun-worshippers [including Egypt, Iceland, Germany and India] is a
ritualistic offering of magic, myth, miracle and Marianne Faithful,’
says the PC guide. Look Back on Anger: Anger Me & The Films of Kenneth
Anger runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Times and more details at
www.cinematheque.bc.ca.

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