Once experienced, any film of Kenneth Anger's will not soon be forgotten. A word of warning for those who are more inclined toward commercial or 'mainstream' cinema- Anger's films are often dense and complex, filed with metaphor, symbolism and elements of Surrealism. Despite having read around Anger's work to a considerable extent, I still find some sequences incomprehensible and intellectually impenetrable. So, some of these films will leave the average viewer perplexed.
Anger's film making is marked by an often luscious, decadent aesthetic and an atmosphere of intoxicating sensuality. If we struggle with an intellectual interpretation of some of these works, then the very fin-de-siecle focus on 'effect' captures the viewer, by tinkering with the mind below the level of immediate cognition. As Anger has stated in the past, he sees Cinema as an 'evil medium', a medium through which he 'steals the soul' of the viewer. Anger works to manipulate the emotions and, he hopes, the unconscious mind of the viewer through a 'magickal' endeavour, rather than encouraging a process of rational exploration. Often, Anger's more difficult and esoteric films e.g. Invocation of My Demon Brother, bombard the rational mind with obscure and layered imagery in a way that overwhelms, I believe, in an attempt to tap in to the irrational mind and exert control over the viewer.
The one thing that matters more to Anger than film making, is his lifetime dedication to ceremonial 'magick'. Anger is a practitioner of occultism, influenced by Aleister Crowley. His films are conceived as magical workings and screenings serve as rituals. Therefore, expect a great deal of allusion to occultism within these films. I am no expert in such things and as a result I am most likely missing out a lot of what Anger is communicating, but I love his films nonetheless. My favourite of his films is Inauguration of The Pleasure Dome- a Bacchanalian revel, the most visually striking of Anger's films, the most visually decadent and featuring a performance by Anais Nin.
Anger has been making films since the 1940's and he is still going. I recently had the pleasure of attending a screening of some of the films contained on this DVD. Mr. Anger was there in person and seemed very spritely for his 83 years. Long may he continue on his chosen path! If you have never viewed a Kenneth Anger film before, expect the following: magic, death, decadence, homoeroticism and spell-binding imagery.