Kenneth Anger, In Person, 2010. Photo: Ben Jeans Houghton. Courtesy of AV Festival 10

Kenneth Anger, In Person, 2010. Photo: Louise Hepworth. Courtesy of AV Festival 10

Kenneth Anger, In Person, 2010. Photo: Louise Hepworth. Courtesy of AV Festival 10

Kenneth Anger, In Person, 2010. Photo: Louise Hepworth. Courtesy of AV Festival 10

The legendary filmmaker and writer Kenneth Anger made a special guest appearance at AV Festival 10. Anger is a pioneering force in avant-garde cinema and a prolific writer about Hollywood’s rich and famous, including his 1959 book Hollywood Babylon. Creating films since the 1940s, his work explores themes of ritualistic transformation, counterculture and the occult and has influenced generations of filmmakers including Martin Scorsese, Gus Van Sant and Guy Maddin.

Anger fully embodies the Festival theme of energy: elemental forces including fire, flame, light and love have all been central to his work. He has also had a lifelong interest in the occult, particularly the works of Aleister Crowley, the most influential magician of the 20th century who believed that ‘the key to joy is disobedience’. Anger’s 1954 film Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome is a Crowleyan ritual on film and established his trademark hallucinogenic and hypnotic visual style. 

His work is pioneering in its use of found footage and sound, and a precursor of MTV and the music video. Scorpio Rising (1963) famously used Bobby Vinton’s song Blue Velvet in addition to tracks by Ray Charles and Elvis Presley. Mick Jagger composed the music for Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969), after Bobby Beausoleil reportedly buried the original footage in Death Valley. 

For 20 years from the early eighties, Anger released no new material. However he has made several new films this decade including Mouse Heaven (2004), a montage of toys from the 1930s and Ich Will! (2008) a visual poem about the Hitler Youth.

The event included screenings of the following films: Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969), Scorpio Rising (1963), Mouse Heaven (2004), and Ich Will! (2008).

Kenneth Anger is an American underground experimental filmmaker, actor and author of two controversial Hollywood Babylon books. Working exclusively in short films, he has produced almost forty works since 1937, nine of which have been grouped together as the Magick Lantern Cycle, and form the basis of Anger's reputation as one of the most influential independent filmmakers in cinema history. His films variously merge surrealism with homoeroticism and the occult, and have been described as containing "elements of erotica, documentary, psychodrama, and spectacle."

Curated and produced by AV Festival 10. 

Kenneth Anger: In Person


Fri 12 March 2010, 7pm

Tyneside Cinema

10 Pilgrim Street
Newcastle NE1 6QG