Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, Kenneth Anger!

Kenneth Anger, the filmmaker who made some of the most surreal, glorious and occult-themed films in history celebrates his 83rd birthday today. If you haven't seen his entire collection of short films they're available in two wonderful Criterion DVD editions, Volumes 1 and 2. The disks include a terrific accompanying booklet with commentary by filmmakers Gus Van Sant, Guy Maddin, and Martin Scorcese, who describes Anger's undeniable influence upon contemporary filmmakers, and an intriguing introduction to Lucifer Rising by Bobby Beausoleil, Anger's collaborator who became involved with the Manson Family and is currently serving a life sentence in prison for his role in several murders.

Anger's films Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (featuring Anais Nin as Astarte), Lucifer Rising, Invocation of my Demon Brother and Lucifer Rising are all seminal films of occult cinema, and form the basis for the imagery and tone of many occult-based films that came in their wake. Anger was himself an occult practitioner, and every one of his films is a ritual unto itself. Mr. Anger, we salute you and your visionary body of work.