San Francisco by Anthony Stern


The flip-side of the kitsch London of Smashing Time can be found in this frenetic short made a year later which presents a fragmented view of that other locus of the Paisley Era, San Francisco. Director Anthony Stern avoids the usual longueurs of silent documentary by chopping his footage to bits to create a tour through the city streets that’s as frenzied as the films of Jeff Keen. The bonus is a score by The Pink Floyd (from the days when they still used the definite article) playing an exclusive version of Interstellar Overdrive. That alone makes one wonder why this film hasn’t received more attention over the years.

Stern’s film reminds me of Kenneth Anger’s Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969), another short work which is frequently as frenzied and also features scenes filmed in San Francisco. In addition, both films feature some ritual business: Stern shows a group of freaks in a psychedelic house with the inevitable naked woman cavorting for the benefit of clothed men; Anger is rather more serious with shots of a full-blown Crowlean ceremony. Anthony Stern today has established himself as a very accomplished glass artist; you can see his glass work here and watch San Francisco here.

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Smashing Time
Berlin Horse and Marvo Movie
Kenneth Anger on DVD again

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