Nov 18, 2008


Fireworks was occultist filmmaker Kenneth Anger's first masterpiece. The film features sadistic sailors, phallocentric fireworks, and what seems to be a nightmare gay bashing. I can only assume that Fireworks is both Anger's greatest fantasy and nightmare. Anger was one of the first very honest filmmakers. Fireworks was such a spectacle when it was released in 1947, that Anger was arrested on obscenity charges.

French filmmaker and poet Jean Cocteau was a fan of Fireworks and with good reason. Kenneth Anger follows in the footsteps of Cocteau's cinematic masterpiece The Blood of a Poet(1930). Like The Blood of a Poet, Fireworks is a surrealist journey of an individual in pain that can only be expressed through the advant-garde film medium. Of course, with Fireworks Anger shows that he also has a very humorous side.

"A dissatisfied dreamer awakes, goes out in the night seeking a `light' and is drawn through the needle's eye. A dream of a dream, he returns to bed less empty than before."
-Kenneth Anger

Was Kenneth Anger's ultimate fantasy a 17 year old to be beaten and sodomized by a group of muscle sailors? I can only imagine the response that the general American public would have had during this time if they had seen Fireworks. After all, America had just won itself a war and no one wanted to see patriotic sailors as gay sado-masochists. Things get so bad that Anger's intestines even get ripped out.

is the American art film at it's finest. At the end of the film, a sailor reveals a roman candle in his pants that makes you think of a nice American fourth of July. Not that I care much for "end" titles, but Anger even managed to get quite creative with that. It is a tragedy that very few American filmmakers have been influenced by the works of Kenneth Anger.

-Ty E

1 comment:

jervaise brooke hamster said...