A landmark of both experimental and gay/lesbian filmmaking, Kenneth Anger’s film is a bizarre, disturbing dreamscape of violation, rape, and homoerotic sadomasochism. The film opens with Anger, who made this film when he was only 17, awaking from a troubled dream and leaving his house to go on a stroll. He is confronted by a band of buff sailors who proceed to beat, manhandled, and molest him. Recalling other surrealist masterpieces such as Un Chien andalou and Meshes in the Afternoon, this film uses elliptical narrative structure and dream-like visual metaphors and puns. –MSN Movies
Kenneth Anger is an independent filmmaker and author. He claims to have appeared as the child prince in A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935), but Warner Brothers production reports and casting sheets conclusively document that a little girl, child actress Sheila Brown, actually played the role. Anger did, however, begin making films at an early age. Most of his films are short experimental works, ranging from 3.5-30 minutes. His career has been recognized with life achievement awards from the Los Angeles Film Critics, the San Francisco International Film Festival, the Silverlake Film Festival, the Mar del Plata Film Festival, and the Maya Deren Award for Experimental Film/Life Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. Among other notable honors, he received the Poetic Film Prize at Festival du Film Maudit in Biarritz, France in 1949, which was presented by Jean Cocteau. Anger’s work has screened around the world, including at the Institut Francais de Vienne in Austria, the Galerie… read more
An astonishingly asured masochistic masturbatory fantasy full of potent gay imagery. All deeply personal for the young Anger but the common currency of motifs - aided and abetted by this very film - still chimes across the years with its themes of repressed violence: enjoyed and endured.
The exhibition Kenneth Anger: Icons is on view in Los Angeles through February 27.