Kenneth Anger is one of American filmmakingís living legends. From Fireworks, made in 1947 when he was a teenager and one of the first films ever to deal openly with homosexuality, through the enormously influential Scorpio Rising, to the publication of his book Hollywood Babylon, the always controversial Anger has pushed boundaries and buttons as few other filmmakers.
As part of the Film Love series, Frequent Small Meals presents a selection of Angerís classic works, screened in their original 16mm format, alongside the Southeast U.S. premiere of his 2005 film Mouse Heaven.
** Continuing Anger's lifelong fascination with Hollywood iconography, Mouse Heaven explores in loving detail the phenomenon of Mickey Mouse. For the filming, Anger was granted access to one of the worldís largest private collections of Mickey Mouse dolls, puppets and paraphernalia. Made in Angerís trademark style - sumptuous color and dynamic camera work ingeniously wedded to evocative pop songs - Mouse Heaven premiered to acclaim earlier this year at the Museum of Modern Art. Itís an irreverent, subversive, but surprisingly playful look at an American icon.
** The program will also celebrate Kenneth Angerís pioneering achievements with a selection of his classic films. Fireworks (1947), which first brought Anger international recognition, is the tale of a sleeper (portrayed by Anger) who undergoes a symbolic death and rebirth in the course of a surreal dream. In its time it stood almost alone for its daring, openly homoerotic imagery and radical narrative structure. Today it ranks with Maya Derenís Meshes of the Afternoon as a masterpiece of the first wave of the American avant-garde. Jean Cocteau said of Fireworks, ď[it] comes from that beautiful night from which emerge all the true works. It touches the quick of the soul and this is very rare.Ē A 1953 companion film, Eaux DíArtifice, shows Angerís lyrical side in a gorgeous study of water and fountains in the gardens in Tivoli, Italy.
** Scorpio Rising (1963) is Angerís most notorious film and a key work of 1960s cinema. Mining the mythology of the American motorcyclist, Anger created a work renowned for its indelible imagery and its incisive, witty, sometimes disturbing look at an American subculture. Most of all, its brilliant use of vibrant pop songs for the soundtrack remains unsurpassed even after a quarter-century of MTV. (Director Martin Scorcese among others has acknowledged Scorpio Rising as a major influence on his approach to music in film.)
Frequent Small Meals is proud to present early and new works by this pioneer of the American avant-garde.
The Film Love series exists to provide access to important films that are largely unavailable in consumer formats. The series is programmed and hosted by Andy Ditzler for Frequent Small Meals. Archives of the series are at http://andel.home.mindspring.com/film_love.htm.