Film maker: Kenneth Anger

Kenneth Anger is an independent film maker. His projects appear abstract and are targeted at a niche audience, as he believes the cinema is ‘evil’ and is more interested in creating projects based on magic, ceremonies and spiritual activity. (

I find the work of Anger very experimental and engaging, he has never made a feature film; however he would not be the influential fim maker that he is if he did, his work is avant-garde, and unique. Anger was also a writer, a very controversial one at that, writing books: ‘Hollywood Babylon’ which were best selling books and helped him to fund his future projects. (

One of Anger’s most influential film for me is ‘Lucifer Rising’ produced in 1981. The film has an almost hallucinogenic feel to it. The film appears ambiguous in its messages and meanings, allowing its viewers to be able to reflect back on the film, and decode it.

I was curious to find out more about this film, and did much research into the meanings and symbolism. I found out that the majority of this film only makes sense to Anger himself:
Anger (about Chris Jagger – actor in the film): “he was supposed to play the high priest in my film, but he proved to be too difficult… I had to send him home because he kept asking ‘What does it mean?’ Everything had to mean something to him in his logical mind, and I told him it doesn’t matter what it means, that it matters to me, not to you… If I really wanted to continue with him, I could have made up some story… but the whole thing, the meaning is too complex and deep. Or simple, if you’re an initiate; it’s almost like a childish fairytale…”
This quote comes from the DVD commentary and I found it at a very useful site if you are interested in looking deeper into the meaning of the film.

The film began fairly methodically, shots of Egypt, sea-scapes, volcanos leading to what seemed to be an Egyptian goddess and a man carrying out a ritual, it then became very fragmented, and delved a lot deeper becoming more and more perplex when it finally ended with flying saucers which appeared above the ancient statues. This was very interesting as the Egyptians are heavily linked with flying saucers, as the ancient Egyptians are known to have drawn them coming to earth in 2,600 BC bringing a controversial aspect to the film.

The ideas that Anger brings forth are individualistic, they vary from the norm and defy typical conventions. He is a controversial film maker, whose view on the world is most distinct and interesting, and I plan to continue following his projects, delving deeper into his world and learning about his unique style.


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