Anger’s most openly Surrealist film is an exquisitely crafted and choreographed dream of feverish desire, starring Anger himself and filmed in his childhood home in Santa Monica while his parents were away for the weekend. Inspired by the trance films of Maya Deren and the Zoot Suit riots that had recently ignited the Greater Los Angeles area, Fireworks trembles with an ardent search for poetry within moments of unleashed violence and passion.
Anger collaborated with fellow Angelino filmmaker Curtis Harrington on this sketch for a planned but never realized feature length homage to the silent cinema. Using shimmering gowns inherited from his grandmother, a dress maker for the silent stars, to create bold color abstraction, Puce Moment also offers an important early example of Anger’s inventive use of popular music as a type of “found” soundtrack.
Embracing the whimsy and wonderment of Melies and working entirely within a Parisian sound stage, Anger painstakingly crafted a night forest with hand-painted leaves and trees as the setting for a sumptuous and sad tone poem about a clown enraptured by the moon.
Eaux D'ArtificeDirected by Kenneth Anger.
US, 1953, 16mm, color and b&w, 12 min.
While traveling with experimental filmmaker Marie Menken in Europe, Anger was inspired by the elaborate fountains of Villa d’Este in Tivoli to design this meticulously structured musical celebration of baroque excess.
Anger’s astonishing masterpiece unfolds a constellation of imagined gods choreographed by Anger and drawn from one of the legendary “Come As Your Madness” costume galas hosted by the silent film actor and reclusive impresario Samson De Brier in his Hollywood mansion. Featuring Anais Nin, Curtis Harrington and De Brier himself among the self-fashioned deities and demons, Inauguration was reworked several times by Anger, once as a dazzling three screen version which he then condensed to the Sacred Mushroom version seen here by brilliantly using superimposition to create complex mandala-like images.