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Film maker Essay

Kenneth Anger is a well known American underground avant-garde film maker and author who is well known not only for his films but also for this novels. Born in Santa Monica, California as Kenneth Wilbur Anglemyer, Kenneth Anger first became well known in 1959 for his publication of the French version of Hollywood Babylon in Paris. While this drove him to certain fame, it also brought him notoriety because it was a tell all book on the scandals of the A-list crowd of Hollywood. He started his career at a very early age.

Commentaries place his silver screen beginnings at the age of nine but it was not until 1947 that he became well known for his first film, Fireworks. In 1949, he expanded his repertoire to include The Love That Whirls and also a documentary of the ruins of Crowley’s Thelema Abbey. While most of his films only spanned 3. 5 minutes to 30 minutes, his works were considered works of arts, capturing the essence in such a short span of time. The influence that Kenneth Anger had on the avant garde scene during his time was so profound.

There is no denying that fact that his films greatly influenced many other film makers in his genre but there is also the fact that some of his works were considered as controversial. As one magazine puts it, Anger was known to insert certain “artistic” twists on his works that were either offensive or brash, resorting to trickery on certain occasions. One such occasion was the filming of Lucifer Rising, which was supposed to star Bobby Beausoleil, which was a critical film that arguably started his fascination with the occult and eventually led to his association with the Church of Satan.

Anger was also associated with the Ordo Templi Orientis and other such groups. While later on in life he decided to return to his films, there is no denying that Kenneth Anger was ahead of his time and widely misunderstood by his peers.


Cohen. M eds. (1985) Film Theory and Criticism: Introductory Readings Oxford University Press, Oxford. Pray, M(2007) Avant-Garde Film: Forms, Themes and Passions Wallflower, London. Sitney, A(1979) Visionary Film: The American Avant-Garde 1943-78 2nd Edition, Oxford University Press, Oxford

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