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Films of Kenneth Anger 1

27 customer reviews

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(Jan 23, 2007)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Cinematic magician, legendary provocateur, author of the infamous HOLLYWOOD BABYLON books and creator of some of the most striking and beautiful works in the history of film, Kenneth Anger is a singular figure in post-war American culture.
A major influence on everything from the films of Martin Scorsese, Rainer Werner Fassbinder and David Lynch to the pop art of Andy Warhol to MTV, Anger's work serves as a talisman of universal symbols and personal obsessions, combining myth, artifice and ritual to render cinema with the power of spell or incantation.
Covering the first half of Anger's career, from his landmark debut FIREWORKS in 1947 to his epic bacchanalia INAGURATION OF THE PLEASURE DOME, Fantoma is very proud to present the long-awaited first volume of films by this revolutionary and groundbreaking maverick, painstakingly restored and presented on DVD for the first time.

Contains the films:
Fireworks (1947)
Puce Moment (1949)
Rabbit's Moon (1950, the rarely seen original 16 minute version)
Eaux d'Artifice (1953)
Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954)

Recently restored by the UCLA Film Archive, Kenneth Anger's difficult-to-see early films are finally collected here onto DVD, alongside optional fascinating commentary by Anger himself. Scores of Anger fans have previously persevered through horrid rented VHS copies of these films, due to their inimitable beauty and strangeness. Anger is renowned for filmic experimentation that portrays invented occult or druggy subcultures while formally rejecting conventions of blockbuster filmmaking. As a result, he has also become the unofficial godfather of the music video, for his groundbreaking use of soundtracks that, in these early films at least, meld classical music with '50s bubble gum pop and '60s folk for a hypnotic, psychedelic effect. Fireworks is a monumental film credited as gay cinema's first masterpiece. Rabbit's Moon, presented in its original 16-minute version, and Eaux d'Artifice are Anger's two other brilliant black-and-white studies of European culture, namely Miming and the 17th century art of Water Fountains. Anger's commentary reveals directorial secrets, for example that Eaux d'Artifice's black-and-white appearance is tromp l'oeil that involved both manipulation of the camera and film development to heighten the film's metaphoric notion of artifice. Puce Moment, starring Yvonne Marquis, is a colorful, campy tribute to silent film glamour, in which the star debates what gown to wear for a party. Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome is the first Anger film to investigate mythology in relation to Aleister Crowley's witchcraft, subject matter that consumed Anger in consequent projects. Kenneth Anger's films exist in a timeless, stylized void that is both alluring and terrifying. Watching these selections will prove that Anger's aesthetic contributions to cinema are noticeable fifty years later. --Trinie Dalton

Special Features

  • High-definition transfers from newly restored elements
  • Screen specific audio commentary by Kenneth Anger
  • Rare outtakes from Rabbit's Moon
  • 48 page book, featuring an introduction by Martin Scorsese, rare photos, never before seen sketches and plans for unproduced films, and more!

Product Details

  • Actors: Kenneth Anger, Gordon Gray, Bill Seltzer, Samson De Brier, Marjorie Cameron
  • Directors: Kenneth Anger
  • Writers: Kenneth Anger
  • Producers: Kenneth Anger
  • Format: Black & White, Color, Dolby, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 1.0)
  • Region: All Regions
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: Unrated
  • Studio: Fantoma
  • DVD Release Date: January 23, 2007
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000JFXRU6
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #95,262 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Films of Kenneth Anger 1" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Cicada on April 4, 2007
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Kenneth Anger is an American underground film maker, as well as an occultist who is much more influential in the realms of cinema and the occult than is recognized today. The audacity of his vision is simply startling, especially by the standards of the '40s and '50s. The films in this collection are a perfect introduction to Anger's vision and style. The first five serious film endeavors of Anger, beginning in 1947 (an auspicious year for Thelemites) with Fireworks, when he was only 17 years old.

Fireworks (1947): inspired by Anger's dream, where he is beaten and raped by a gang of sailors. Anger himself said that "this flick is all I have to say about being 17, the United States Navy, American Christmas and the Fourth of July."

Puce Moment (1949): a five minute fragment of what was supposed to become a feature film called "Puce Women". The music and the motion of this fragment make it's five minutes unforgettable. Also, the sheer nihilism of how Hollywood beauty is portrayed is undeniable.

Rabbit's Moon (1950): an awesome psychodrama involving mimes and children, ritualistically yearning for the unattainable moon to 1950's pop songs. The music ingeniously compliments the imagery and action. a strange blend of French comedy, Oriental mythology, and masonic symbolism.

Eaux d'Artifice (1953): a very beautiful tour of a magickal labyrinth of waterfalls and fountains, as we follow the water witch to her final destiny - all to the tune of Vivaldi!

Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954): and it seems that they have saved the very best for last! This trippy descent into hedonistic rites is topped off with a healthy serving of Thelemic mysticism and magick.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Daryl Chin on February 10, 2007
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Kenneth Anger was one of the pioneering avant-garde filmmakers in the United States, a fearless innovator in both style and content. In the 1940s, when FIREWORKS was made, it was a shattering and cosmos-shaking experience. This compilation of Anger's early works (made between the years 1945 and 1958) is beautifully produced, carefully transferred, and shows these works (including RABBIT'S MOON, EAUX D'ARTIFICE, PUCE MOMENT, and INAUGURATION OF THE PLEASURE DOME) to maximum advantage. His finest works are a compendium of amazing images matched with wonderful music (Anger pioneered the use of the pop music soundtrack) to create some of the most rhythmically irresistible works in the cinema. All you have to do is watch EAUX D'ARTIFICE (travelling through a Baroque garden syncopated to Vivaldi) to be transported to a world of the most extraordinary unearthly delights.
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39 of 52 people found the following review helpful By Kiki DeMartino on October 17, 2006
This is a very exciting release. I just saw most of these remastered films at UCLA and they are stunning. Of special note is the original version of Rabbit's Moon, complete with footage most people have never seen before, and a soundtrack of 1950s pop songs. I couldn't be happier that this is finally coming out, and neither could you.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Robert Beveridge HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on November 19, 2008
Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (Kenneth Anger, 1966)

So I finally sat down and watched Kenneth Anger's Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, a 38-minute short that sits on Jonathan Rosenbaum's list of the best 1000 films ever made. And I had no earthly idea what I was seeing. So I watched it again. And pretty soon I found myself getting into the same vibe with Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome that I did with Begotten about ten years ago-- no matter how many times I watch it, I cannot exorcise it from my head. Unlike Begotten, which I consider one of the ten best movies ever made, I can't tell yet whether I actually like Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, but it's certainly stamped itself as unforgettable.

There's no use in relaying any sort of plot; if there is one, I still haven't found it. It is, instead, a set piece; an overlord of some sort has a gathering planned. The guests arrive. We meet them, get to know each one a bit. And then, something happens. What? I've no idea. And given the number of times I've watched this-- and Anger's lack of distorting techniques such as those used by Merhige-- that's saying something. Oh, and did I mention that the whole thing has, as a soundtrack, a Leos Janacek mass?

Honestly, I'm not sure I can tell you anything of substance about this movie. It's brilliantly shot; I am of the suspicion that a number of acid-trip-style sequences from later films (Psychomania and Easy Rider certainly come to mind) were strongly influenced by this movie. That alone should be reason for film buffs to seek it out. For the casual movie fan, though? I do suspect that the average Joe would look at this, wonder what's going on for a couple of minutes, and reach for the remote. But it is worth looking into; you may find yourself obsessed. ***
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Francisco Gonzalez on March 18, 2007
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The work of Kenneth Anger, one of the founding fathers of American experimental cinema, were for a long time unavailable in decent video tapes. For years, only the Mystic Arts Video collection gave us the chance of experiencing Anger's magickal film visions in barely adequate copies, which gave us a scant idea of the viual and conceptual brilliance of these films, quite memorable when seen on screen.

Now Fantoma has released Volume I of the Kenneth Anger films, and one word sums up the product: EXCELLENCE. Fantoma took its time in painstaking restoration of the films, and the results are astounding: the films have never looked better.

"Fireworks" replaces the tacky opening credits from the Seventies release with a spoken-word prologue, and the original ending is restored, making the film a totally new experience even to those who think they have seen it.

The color films look gorgeous in their restored copies: "Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome" stands out in its luminous exploration of shimmering colors and inspired mise-en-scene, "Puce Moment" is lovelier than ever, and "Rabbit's Moon" shines in its original 16-minute version.

The accompanying book includes an apprteciation by Martin Scorsese, essays from Anais Nin and Samson de Brier, and rare writing by Anger, including sketches of the aborted "Puce Women" film for which "Puce Moment"was filmed.

All in all, an outstanding DVD. Let's hope Volume II won't take as long to be produced.
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