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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


 

Kenneth Anger on DVD again

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Nearly two years after their American release, and not a moment too soon, the films which comprise Kenneth Anger‘s superb Magick Lantern Cycle turn up at last in the UK. Good to see these being produced by the BFI, their previous collections of shorts by the Brothers Quay and Jan Svankmajer are distinguished by quality transfers, great packaging and very thorough documentation. Surprising, then, that the box art of the BFI set is rather naff-looking compared to the Fantoma releases. On the plus side, those of us in Region 2 receive the additional extra of an Anger documentary by Elio Gelminis. The BFI is also making these films available for the first time on Blu-ray. Now I’m hoping they might get round to doing a decent job with all the films of Sergei Parajanov, especially that cult favourite of mine, Shadows of Our Forgotten Ancestors.

Renowned as the author of the scandalous best-selling book Hollywood Babylon, Kenneth Anger is a legend in this own time. The mythology that has grown around him has many sources, from his involvement with the occult, astrology and the pop world of Mick Jagger, Marianne Faithfull and Jimmy Page, to the announcement of his own death in the pages of the Village Voice, and the destruction, loss and banning of his films. At the heart of all this mythology is a filmmaker of prodigious talent, whose skill and imagination create films of great visual force, influencing filmmakers such as Martin Scorsese, David Lynch and RW Fassbinder.

Disc one:
* Fireworks (1947)
* Puce Moment (1949)
* Rabbit’s Moon (1950/1971, the rarely seen 16mins version)
* Eaux d’Artifice (1953)
* Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (1954)
* Scorpio Rising (1964)
* Kustom Kar Kommandos (1965)
* Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969)
* Rabbit’s Moon (1979 version)
* Lucifer Rising (1981)

Disc two:
* Anger Me (2006) – Elio Gelminis documentary on Kenneth Anger

Extras
* Newly recorded commentaries by Kenneth Anger
* The Man We Want to Hang (2002) – Anger’s film on the paintings of Aleister Crowley

Previously on { feuilleton }
Mouse Heaven by Kenneth Anger
The Man We Want to Hang by Kenneth Anger
Relighting the Magick Lantern
Jan Svankmajer: The Complete Short Films
Kenneth Anger on DVD…finally
The Brothers Quay on DVD

 


 

Posted in {film}, {gay}, {occult}.

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7 comments or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by Evan J Peterson

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    Glad to hear that these are finally available in the UK. I love Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome in particular.

    I’m quite eager to hear your take on the Shane Fitzgerald Wikipedia hoax. Will you blog about that?

  2. #2 posted by John

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    I’ve probably said before that I saw Inauguration once with an alternative soundtrack of pieces by the Electric Light Orchestra. A passing infatuation on Anger’s part, he seems now to prefer the Janacek score. As you’d expect, it gave a very different tone to the film.

    I read about the Fitzgerald thing earlier. Not really enough there to sustain my interest for a blog post, I’d already noticed journalists swiping from Wikipedia. Hell, I’ve even had people swiping my words on these pages! So yeah, don’t believe everything you read, including my apparent “authority”.

  3. #3 posted by Wiley

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    I’d never heard of ‘Shadows of our Forgotten Ancestors’ or Parajanov, it sounds very interesting.

  4. #4 posted by John

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    Parajanov’s films are unlike any others I’ve seen. Shadows is very difficult to describe, ostensibly a folk story with occasional magical/occult elements but the directorial technique varies throughout and the whole style is utterly modern. Very unlike a folk-tale, in other words. The films he made after that are more like filmed tableaux than any kind of dramatic narrative. Colour of Pomegranates is the best of these, only about an hour long and very intense throughout. Shadows is my favourite but all are worth seeing. I have some disgraceful DVD copies from Kino in the US. Shitty prints and bad subtitles. Don’t buy them! Versions I taped from TV years ago were far better. It’s pretty outrageous he isn’t better known, he was a world-class filmmaker and suffered for years at the hands of the Soviet authorities.

  5. #5 posted by Wiley

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    Fat chance I’ll ever see them with the kind of crap played over here. If it weren’t for the History and Discovery channels, which I don’t even watch very often, I probably wouldn’t watch television at all. Here’s to hoping someone of Fantoma’s caliber releases some Parajanov if you like him this much.

 


 

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