Kenneth Anger, experimental filmmaker, artist, and writer, has died aged 96. Anger’s art gallery, Sprüth Magers Galleries, confirmed the news and said in a statement that “Kenneth is a pioneer. His genius and cinematic influence will live on and continue to change all who encounter his films, words and vision.
Spencer Glasby, Anger’s artist liaison, told NPR that Anger died on May 11, 2023, in Yucca Valley, California. Anger was born in 1927 in Santa Monica, California, and made more than 30 short films between 1937 and 2013. He made his first film at the age of 10, an impressive feat for any filmmaker. He is known for being one of America’s first openly gay filmmakers, another accomplishment considering the culture-hostile era in which he rose to prominence. His work often explored themes of eroticism and grotesque, years before gay sex was even legalized in the United States.
The film is 1947 Firework even taking him to court, facing obscenity charges. The film was being produced at his parents’ home in Beverly Hills while they were away for the weekend. It is known as the first gay narrative film to be produced in the United States. And given how long it has taken for queer films to find a foothold in the mainstream, his work has to be seen as an achievement far beyond his time period.
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After Firework, Anger moved to France and embraced the burgeoning avant-garde film scene. The French avant-garde movement inspired two of his films Eaux d’Artifice And Rabbit Moon. He moved back to the United States in 1953. Upon returning to the United States, he made two short films Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome And Scorpio Rises.
In 1959 Anger wrote the book Hollywood Babylonwhich discusses the gossip and scandals surrounding such people Marilyn Monroe, Judy GarlandAnd Charlie Chaplin. However, most of the book was discredited. This didn’t stop Anger from releasing a sequel book in 1984. The sequel book was made after his retirement from filmmaking in the 1980s. Anger returned to film in the 2000s.
Anger is an avowed Satanist, and his work and life are nothing if not controversial. The film is 1972 Lucifer Rises cemented its status as a counter-cultural icon. Based on Monika Spruth And Philomen Magers, Anger “…views film as nothing more than a spiritual medium, a carrier of a spectacular alchemy that transforms its audience.” And it’s true that the landscape of cinema has been permanently altered by his work.