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Kenneth Anger Is Mad. Thank God.
on 27 April 2009
Kenneth Wilbur Angelmyer is nuts. Crazy. Stone cold loco. And after watching his repertoire of films, you wouldn't want it any other way, believe me. I'm also slightly reticent of criticising Anger's work in any way, shape or form as he's a well-practiced Thelemite (as in Aleister Crowley) and may curse me. Luckily, there's no reason to. These movies are seminal, and an influence on many filmmakers such as David Lynch and Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Anger is still very much active in the film industry to this day, and with the presentation of "Ich Will!" in 2008 he now has 50 years of film dabbling under his belt. A Biker's belt with a pentagram buckle, I must add. Ouch.
Anger's films are unclassifiable as a genre or template, so don't try to categorize him - Most people in the know think of "Scorpio Rising" (1963) with it's Rock n' Roll Blitzkreig / Biker porn as the quintessential Anger, but you'll find a lot here that goes beyond that. The BFI must be congratulated (again) for bringing little known films to the fore in their excellent DVD / Blu-Ray packages - Earlier this year Jeff Keen's anthology "Gazwrx" was released, this is in the same vein - and much of the man's filmography is included here. These are "Fireworks" (1947), "Puce Moment" (1949),"Rabbit's Moon" (1950/1971), "Eaux d'Artifice" (1953), "Inauguration Of The Pleasure Dome" (1954), "Scorpio Rising" (1964), "Kustom Kar Kommandos" (1965), "Invocation Of My Demon Brother" (1969), "Rabbit's Moon" (Remade, 1979), and "Lucifer Rising" (1981). Not much left out, All present and correct. A cornucopia of the surreal would be a good way to sum it all up.
Special features include :
- Kenneth Anger commentaries;
- Demonstration of restoration work;
- "The Man We Want To Hang", Anger's look at Crowley's art;
- "Anger Me", Elio Gelmini's analysis of Anger;
- Lavish booklet including an essay by Gary Lachman.
So, if you think Stan Brakhage is too tame, you have a dream compilation here right at your fingertips. Just keep your mouth shut if you find it all a bit much - Ken will come and get you.