Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Three Kenneth Anger films I hadn't seen

Demon brother, invoked.
Esquire has up a great long interview with my favorite experimental film-maker and goat-footed prince of the bon vivants, Kenneth Anger. You should go read it, and then watch Invocation of my Demon Brother, his best film, in my opinion.

Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969)

I thought I'd seen all his films, but here are three more that sprang up from the article.

Brush of Baphomet (2009)

This is a wade through details of murals painted by Aleister Crowley at his Abbey of Thelema in Sicily, where he and acolytes gained his reputation for excess. Using Morton Subotnik's Silver Apples on the Moon as its jarring soundtrack is a curious choice; it creates the orgiastic anxiety of Crowley's murals, but never relents. Unrelentingness is the great thing about Subotnik, but is rigor is scientific and mathematical; Crowley's (and Anger's) are intrinsically tied to the mysteries of the flesh.

Ich Will! (2008)

This mystic collage of Hitler Youth footage was mentioned in the Esquire piece.  It is long by Anger standards at 35 minutes (Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome is longer by 3 minutes.) The blood sepia coloring and romantic Bruckner soundtrack add some sinew to the frolicky idylls of Aryan scamps. It culminates in a night rally with lines of soldiers bearing torches, marching in swastika formation. The presence of fireworks point back to one of his first films, Fireworks, where Anger was the youth being antagonized by the military. The torches echo Anger's career-wide cast of Lucifer as the Bringer of Light. What that light reveals is up to those casting shadows under it.

The Man We Want to Hang (2002)

Another love letter to Crowley's paintings, this calmer and more pastoral, lending the old monster a bit of cozy charm. You'd need charm to host the kind of orgies that would get you kicked out of the country by Mussolini. Maybe it's that Il Duce wasn't invited.

No comments:

Post a Comment