Experimental filmmaker, artist and writer Kenneth Anger has passed away. He was 96 years old.
His gallery, run by Monika Spruth and Philomene Magers, confirmed the news on their website, writing, “Kenneth was a trailblazer. His cinematic brilliance and influence will live on and continue to transform all who encounter his films, words and vision.
More From Variety
Born in 1927 in Santa Monica, California, Anger produced over 30 short films from 1937 to 2013, making his first at the age of 10. Known as “one of America’s first openly gay filmmakers”, he gained a reputation for exploring themes of sexuality and homosexuality decades before gay sex was legalized in America. Anger gained recognition for his 1947 homoerotic film “Fireworks”, which landed him in court on charges of obscenity. Filmed at his childhood home in Beverly Hills while his parents were away for the weekend, “Fireworks” is noted as the first gay narrative film produced in America.
Later, Anger moved to France and immersed himself in the avant-garde film scene, which inspired Anger’s own works “Eaux d’Artifice” and “Rabbit’s Moon”. After moving back to the States in 1953, he produced the 38-minute “Opening of the Pleasure Dome” and the 29-minute “Scorpio Rising” starring Bruce Byrne.
In 1959, Anger published the gossip book “Hollywood Babylon”, which detailed alleged scandals involving Hollywood stars ranging from Marilyn Monroe to Judy Garland to Charlie Chaplin. The book was widely discredited and banned in the US soon after its publication. He released a sequel to the book in 1984 after announcing his retirement from filmmaking, a result of his inability to produce a sequel to his 1972 film “Lucifer Rising”. (He would return to the medium at the turn of the century, directing more than a dozen short films from 2000 to 2013.)
The 2019 season of Karina Longworth’s “You Must Remember This Podcast” was devoted to investigating the stories told in “Hollywood Babylon” and researching other sources to get more accurate details.
anger said in 2010 Interview with The Guardian He had finished writing a third installment for “Hollywood Babylon”, but was holding off on publishing it for fear of repercussions. “The main reason I couldn’t get it out was because I had a whole segment on Tom Cruise and the Scientologists,” he said. “I’m not a friend of Scientologists.”
An outspoken Satanist, Anger was a controversial figure, being close friends with other counter-cultural figures, including the Rolling Stones’ Mick Jagger and Keith Richards, Led Zeppelin’s Jimmy Page, and Marianne Faithfull, who starred in “Lucifer Rising”. became.
Anger captured his life’s work in a surrealist anthology film titled “Magic Lantern Cycle”, which pieces together nine of his short films, including “Fireworks” and “Invocation of My Demon Brother”.
Spruth and Magers wrote in the statement announcing his death, “Anger considered cinematographic projection a psychological ritual capable of unleashing physical and emotional energy. The artist saw film as no less a spiritual medium, a work of spectacular alchemy.” The carrier that replaces the viewer.
best of variety
sign up for Variety’s newsletter, Follow us for latest news Facebook, TwitterAnd Instagram,