Don’t Smoke That Cigarette by Kenneth Anger


Another of Kenneth Anger’s post-Magick Lantern works at YouTube, and one I’d managed to miss until now. Anger’s later films have tended to be documentative—The Man We Want to Hang, Mouse Heaven, Anger Sees Red, My Surfing Lucifer—or collage projects like Ich Will!, a cut-up of Nazi propaganda films that was also on YouTube for a while before vanishing into the puce ether.


Don’t Smoke That Cigarette (2000) is a long collage piece with none of the director’s usual preoccupations, the raw material this time being propaganda for the US tobacco industry. Anger is apparently a fervent non-smoker so this can be considered a polemical work although it also offers a glimpse for younger generations into a vanished world where almost everybody smoked some kind of tobacco, the advertising was ubiquitous, and dissenting voices very much in the minority. With a running time of 45 minutes this is also Anger’s longest film. The copy at YouTube has the look of a VHS tape that’s been duplicated several times, a degraded appearance familiar from the bootleg tapes that used to circulate in the days of “video nasty” censorship. It also turns into a video nasty of its own when Anger reinforces his message with footage of people afflicted by a variety of nicotine-induced diseases. With Johnny Roventini (the Philip Morris bellboy) as your host for the evening, more tobacco-addicted stars than there are in heaven, and “Electro”, a cigarette-smoking robot.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Kenneth Anger’s Maldoror
Donald Cammell and Kenneth Anger, 1972
My Surfing Lucifer by Kenneth Anger
Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome: The Eldorado Edition
Brush of Baphomet by Kenneth Anger
Anger Sees Red
Kenneth Anger’s Hollywood Babylon
Lucifer Rising posters
Missoni by Kenneth Anger
Anger in London
Arabesque for Kenneth Anger by Marie Menken
Edmund Teske
Kenneth Anger on DVD again
Mouse Heaven by Kenneth Anger
The Man We Want to Hang by Kenneth Anger
Relighting the Magick Lantern
Kenneth Anger on DVD…finally