Kenneth Anger (c. 1928- )
Who Has Been Rocking My Dream Boat (l94l), 7 minutes (withdrawn)
Tinsel Tree (l942), 3 minutes (withdrawn)
Prisoner of Mars (l942), ll minutes (withdrawn)
The Nest (l943), 20 minutes (withdrawn)
Escape Episode (l944), 35 minutes, remade in
l946 with sound, 27 minutes (withdrawn)
Drastic Demise (l945), 5 minutes (withdrawn)
Fireworks (l947), l4 minutes
Puce Moment (l949), 6 minutes
Rabbits Moon (l950), 7 minutes (in l972 a second version was l6 minutes; in 1979 a third version was 7 minutes)
Eaux d' Artifice (l953), l3 minutes
Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (l954), 38 minutes
Scorpio Rising (l963), 29 minutes
Kustom Kar Kommandos (l965), 3 minutes
Invocation of My Demon Brother (Arrangement in Black and Gold) (l969), ll minutes
Lucifer Rising (l970-80), 30 minutes
(for a more complete filmography see Kenneth Anger: A Monograph by Robert Haller. Film in the Cities, l980)
On Fireworks and Eaux dArtifice:
Like Scorpio Rising, Lucifer Rising is about several things. Im an artist working in Light, and thats my whole interest, really. Lucifer is the Light God, not the devil, thats a Christian slander. The devil is always other peoples gods. Lucifer has appeared in other of my films; I havent labeled him as such but theres usually a figure or a moment in those films which is my "lucifer moment."
Angers emphasis on Light and Lucifer as the "Light God" casts light on the earlier worksFireworks, Eaux dArtifice, and Rabbits Moon. In the first film, Angers protagonist goes out into the night "seeking a Light," which is argot for a homosexual pick-up. But for Anger it is a pursuit of Light as well: we soon see the protagonist standing above a nighttime highway, all black except for the advancing headlights as if in a swirling current. When the protagonist (Anger) does find Light, it means death/rebirth, and in the rebirth he is joined in bed by another whose face erupts with scratched light. Eaux dArtifice is a film filled with fountains of water and light (it is the play of light on the water that is so beautiful), and at its climax, Angers protagonist becomes one with the shower of water-and light. In the new, short version of Rabbits Moon, Anger has replaced the music track with a song that includes the words "Give him a light!" as Pierrot raptly watches the moon.
Anger sees Fireworks and Eaux dArtifice as a pair of films, a notion that emphasizes the dreamlike and illusionistic qualities of the earlier film. Eaux dartifice develops around a costumed figure who moves through a garden of fountains, a "Hide and Seek" in a night-time labyrinth. Essentially the film is a musical development of this pursuit, culminating in the assumption of the seeker into the fountains, becoming one with the water, suggesting that, like the protagonist of Fireworks, the seeker has found the light, been transmuted by the experience.
To watch Eaux dArtifice is to become very aware of the artifice of the film (and, implicitly, of all films). Anger fashions a drama of light and observation with his synchronization of the images of Vivaldis music, and the visual manipulation of gargoyles seeming to leer at the running figure (a dwarf, so as to increase the differential of scale). None of this diminishes our admiration for the work; one is struck by the virtuosity of Anger as an editor. In the context of his other films, it is also a departure for him. Anger has often pointed to the importance of Sergei Eisensteins work, with its emphasis on montage as the "collision of images." In films like Scorpio Rising, Anger freely intercuts dissimilar images to work with what Eisenstein called intellectual montage. In Eaux dArtifice Anger follows the opposite mode of film editing, the Pudovkin option of continuity instead of collisions.-(RH)