Friday, November 24, 2006


After years of rumors and delays, it looks like Fantoma will finally be releasing "The Films of Kenneth Anger: Volume One".

Kenneth Anger is one of the most influencial filmmakers of the New American Cinema movement, essentially the birth of experimental cinema in the United States. While a contemporary of Stan Brakhage, Anger chose to a style completely different than Brakhage's "supremacy of image" non-narrative silent works, instead making experimental narratives rich with occult mythology, popular music and vibrant colors.

Anger will probably be best known as an Occult filmmaker (he was closely associated with the Church of Satan and includes many references to Aleister Crowley in his work from the 60's), but he was also just as interested in exploring gay eroticism ("Fireworks") and American pop and consumerist culture ("Kustom Kar Kommandos", "Mouse Heaven"). He also made one of the most beautiful homages to the magic of cinema since Melies with his film "Rabbit Moon".

Music was always just as important as image to Anger, and as a result his films have some of the most impressive soundtracks in cinema history. His film Lucifer Rising features an epic soundtrack written by former Manson Family member Bobby Beausoleil (an alternate version was also scored by Led Zepplin's Jimmy Page), and films like "Puce Moment", "Scorpio Rising" and "Kustom Kar Kommandos" featured hip montages of 50's and 60's popular music, a technique that would influence filmmaker Martin Scorcese in films such as "Goodfellas'.

Time has not been kind to Anger. Despite remaining an active filmmaker, he has sadly become a victim of mental illness and poverty and in the past few years has been evicted from his LA apartment and was arrested for assault. But his great work still remains available. While the Fantoma DVD will not be out until late January, you can still rent some of his films on VHS at Waterfront Video as well as find them available on many p2p sites. Or if you want to experience them as they were truly meant to be experienced, get some friends together & split the cost of a 16mm print rental from Canyon Cinema and Inaugurate your Pleasure Dome!

(P.S.--Casey posted a link to the Jimmy Page version of the Lucifer Rising soundtrack here. )


CaseytheContrarian said...

Too fucking psyched!

PS: I'm posting my '06 list today (Sunday).

Oh, and are you planning to allow anonymous comments? I have a Blogger account (or two!) but I'm rarely signed in, as Solidstate is through TypePad.

jay said...

Looking forward to your list Casey! Somehow I'm doubting that 120 Days will be on there..... :)

I'll check my settings and see if I can allow for anonymous comments. But after the whole "Donna" fiasco, I'm not quite sure if it's a good idea.