Article Title:Kenneth Anger: A Demonic Visionary in Wellington
Category:Movies
Author or Credit:Jay Bennie; NZ Film Archive
Published on:2nd May 2006 - 12:00 pm
Published by:GayNZ.com
Story ID:1211
Text:For the past 40 years gay filmmaker Kenneth Anger's name has been a touchstone for independent film making. One of the USA's first openly gay filmmakers who addressed homosexuality in his movies, Anger occupies an important place in the history of experimental filmmaking and is lauded for his role in making gay culture visible on screen. One of America's first openly gay filmmakers, and certainly the first whose work addressed homosexuality in an undisguised, self-implicating manner, Kenneth Anger occupies an important place in the history of experimental filmmaking. His role in rendering gay culture visible within American cinema, commercial or otherwise, is impossible to overestimate. The young Anger gained instant notoriety in 1947 with Fireworks, a homoerotic nightmare/reverie in which a muscular sailor enjoys posing for a youth's voyeuristic delight, but then, with four others, bashes the youth in a public restroom... a horrific scenario to be sure but one which seems to suggest redemption with milky fluid spattering Anger's body, a sympathetic sailor's crotch spewing white sparks from a Roman candle, and Anger resurrected, wearing a flaming Christmas tree headdress. In films such as Scorpio Rising (1963) Anger presented a gloriously kaleidoscopic vision of glamour and decadence in the 20th Century. His films have featured appearances by a remarkable number of musical and popular figures including Anaïs Nin, Marianne Faithfull and Mick Jagger. Artists and filmmakers from Andy Warhol to Martin Scorsese have drawn upon his use of pastiche and improvisation, and his influence has extended through cinema, contemporary art and the music industry. New Zealander Alice Hutchison is the author of Kenneth Anger: A Demonic Visionary. The book is the product of a close working relationship between Hutchison and Anger over the past four years and is the first comprehensive and fully-illustrated monograph on the filmmaker. In Icons, currently at the New Zealand Film Archive in Wellington Hutchison presents an exhibition of stills from Anger's 1969 film Invocation of My Demon Brother. The Archive describes it as "A fusion of magick, symbolism, myth, mystery and vision, Invocation of My Demon Brother was designed 'to cast a spell on the audience', as Anger has said." Completed and edited in London from material mostly shot in Haight-Ashbury, San Francisco, it features a soundtrack by Mick Jagger and an appearance by Anger himself as Magus. The exhibition also features a collection of original posters, photographs and ephemera reproduced in the book from Hutchison's collection, much of which given to her by Anger from his personal collection. Alice Hutchison is a curator and writer who has been based until recently in Los Angeles. Limited copies of her book Kenneth Anger: A Demonic Visionary, are on sale at the Film Archive. Kenneth Anger's Icons New Zealand Film Archive Pelorus Trust mediagallery Until May 20th 2006 Jay Bennie; NZ Film Archive - 2nd May 2006    
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