Anger Me

2006 | Arts & Literature / Biography/History / Documentary / Experimental / Media Studies / Music / Parenting/Family / Photography / Pop Culture / Representation / Sexuality / Spirituality / Youth (18 & Under) | 72m | Canada
Directors: Elio Gelmini

Anger Me documents the life and works of Kenneth Anger, pivotal figure in the history of experimental film.

A major personality of the 1960s and 1970s who defined himself as a “cinematographic magician” and his “cinema” as a ritualistic form, he is particularly well-known for his films Fireworks (1947), Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, Scorpio Rising (1963) and Lucifer Rising (1970-1981).

Kenneth credits the use of esoteric symbolism, prevalent in his films, to Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), the great magician, advocate of Gnosticism and neo-paganism. Contemporaries like Stan Brakhage and Harry Smith were influenced by and expanded upon Anger's approach in what was known as Underground film. Later on, this “underground” influenced Martin Scorsese—the contemporary mainstream exponent of this expressionistic style—who openly acknowledges Anger's influence on his film technique. Kenneth is also known as the author of the tell-all series of books on sordid scandals of many famous and infamous Hollywood denizens from the 1900s to the 1950s entitled Hollywood Babylon originally published by Jean-Jacques Pauvert (well known for publishing the work of the Marquis de Sade in the early 1950s and the first publisher of Story of O) in France.

This unprecedented documentary includes a special appearance of Jonas Mekas, the godfather of American avant-garde filmmaking, and music by Bobby Beausoleil, Steven Brown, Nikolas Klau, Tuxedomoon, Trevor Tureski, and Richard Sacks.

Reviews and Awards

“…it's hard to think of a better introduction to [Kenneth Anger’s] very personal celluloid language, combining his interests in paganism, Hollywood glamour and gay sexuality.” —Trevor Johnston, Time Out London

“Elio Gelmini employs many of Anger’s trademark filmmaking techniques to enormously impressive effect in Anger Me : jump cuts, the superimposition of multiple dissimilar images to produce a remarkable synergy and so on. The audio soundtrack is absolutely perfect, including a substantial amount of original music together with the pieces extracted from the movies themselves [including] Mick Jagger and Bobby Beausoleil.” —Paul Feazey, Thelemic News and Culture

[Anger Me] provides a good introduction to Anger’s life and work, and should encourage a new generation to seek out his films … Fans of Anger's films will want to see Anger Me for the light it sheds on his life and career, and those unfamiliar with his work may be inspired to view some of his films after watching it.” —Sarah Boslaugh, Film Critic, PLAYBACK:stl