The Films of Kenneth Anger Vol.2 (1964-1981)
DVD9 | VIDEO_TS | NTSC 4:3 | Cover | 01:17:31 | 6,55 Gb
Audio: English AC3 2.0 @ 192 Kbps | Subtitles: None Genre: Art-house, Avant-garde
Cinematic magician, legendary provocateur, author of the infamous HOLLYWOOD BABYLON books and creator of some of the most striking and beautiful works in the history of film, Kenneth Anger is a singular figure in post-war American culture. A major influence on everything from the films of Martin Scorsese, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and David Lynch to the pop art of Andy Warhol to MTV, Anger's work serves as a talisman of universal symbols and personal obsessions, combining myth, artifice and ritual to render cinema with the power of spell or incantation.
Kenneth Anger is one strange dude. Author of the tabloid-style scandal tome Hollywood Babylon, devotee of Aleister Crowley, pal of rock stars Mick Jagger and Jimmy Page, notoriously unreliable self-mythologizer, and winner of a lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute, Anger spends years working on films that only play for a few minutes (his most extensive work is only 35 minutes long). He sometimes returns and reworks older movies a decade or more after they are released. Even if you’ve never seen an Anger film, you’ve seen dozens of movies that have been influenced by his work; due to his innovation of scoring parades of surrealistic images to pop music, he’s sometimes considered the father of the music video (though he hates the form and has turned down offers to make videos).
The refracted images of films like Invocation of My Demon Brother also helped define the film style we now think of as “psychedelic.” This collection contains Anger’s most important and influential works, from the 1960s and early 1970s—the era of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, when the formerly struggling underground academic filmmaker found himself embraced by the upcoming generation of hipsters.
Pleasure and terror commingle in this next collection of Kenneth Anger films gathered in Volume 2. Like those in The Films of Kenneth Anger: Volume 1, these shorts illustrate Anger's occult concepts with adept, fetishized poeticism manifested formally through Anger's luscious color experiments, avant-garde soundtracks, and radically inventive editing.
Volume 2 boasts Anger's later, darker films that were allegedly magick incarnate: "Scorpio Rising," "Invocation of My Demon Brother," and "Lucifer Rising." "Scorpio Rising," about a biker gang as a symbol of savage ritualism, contains truly scary footage of an actual death-by-motorcycle, and is the most brilliant example of proto-metal culture that has by now infiltrated America's mainstream. "Invocation of My Demon Brother" stars the infamous Bobby Beausoleil, and is a gorgeous psychedelic recap of a theatrical black magick ceremony performed on stage during Anger's Haight Ashbury days. It features a stunning noise piece played on a Moog by Mick Jagger. "Lucifer Rising," too, is an infamous film, as it was made as a tribute to Lucifer's rejuvenating forces.
Each film turns the concept of evil inside out, leaving one with a more complex notion of why Anger considered the camera a "magical weapon." Volume 2 also contains the slick "Kustom Kar Kommandos," about car club culture mirroring sexual fetish, a shortened version of "Rabbit Moon," and the not-as-exciting 2002 film "The Man We Want to Hang," about Aleister Crowley's paintings. The commentaries on each film offer indispensable, eloquent insights into the visionary motifs inherent to each piece. Notably, the booklet in Volume 2 contains essays by Guy Maddin, Gus Van Sant, and Bobby Beausoleil, who recalls his association with Anger, and how he managed to finish the "Lucifer Rising" soundtrack in his prison cell. For Kenneth Wilbur Anglemeyer fans, these DVDs sets contain welcome blessings, or curses, or both.
Trinie Dalton, amazon.com
With its first volume acting like an instructional manual on the birth of American avant-garde filmmaking The Films of Kenneth Anger: Volume 2 shows the extent to which the director's imagination would expand. As always, he sees celluloid as a medium, as important to expression as paints, clay, canvases and one's hands. This means that it could be managed and manipulated in ways that expanded and explained the power within the means. While Scorpio Rising and Kustom Kar Kommandos draw on mannerisms mastered in previous works, Invocation of My Demon Brother and Lucifer Rising show an auteur equally influenced by the world he helped create. All throughout his final film, nods to associate/devotee Alejandro Jodoworsky can be perceived (especially the combination of the sacred and profane, the sexual and the sickening).
There is also an acknowledgment of the growing deconstructionist movement, obvious attempts to thwart the standard film language to push the boundaries of the form. Yet there are themes that continue to resonate throughout all the amazing movies presented here: the love of form and body shape; the acknowledgement of issues outside regular Western thought; man and woman as part of the cosmos and individuals as the masters of their own karmic destiny. Argue over his dogma, but it's impossible to dismiss his abilities. Kenneth Anger stands as a forgotten genius and Fantoma should be proud for bringing his brilliance back to the fore.
- Audio Commentary by Kenneth Anger
- Anger's 'The Man We Want To Hang Film' on Aleister Crowley (14 mins, IMDB)
- Alternate Audio Track for Invocation of My Demon Brother
- Restoration Demonstrations
The Films of Kenneth Anger Vol.1 (1947-1954) is here
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