A soundtrack plays folk rock as a woman prepares, at noon, to take her Borzois for a walk. She goes through her dresses, all 1920's style flapper gowns, holding them one at a time, shaking ... See full summary »
Pierrot waxes romantic, entranced by the moon. Harlequin appears and bullies him, then uses a magic lantern to project an image of Columbine. Pierrot tries to court the illusory Columbine ... See full summary »
A woman dressed elegantly walks purposely through the water gardens at the Villa d'Este in Tivoli, as the music of Vivaldi's "Winter" movement of "The Four Seasons" plays. Heavy red filters... See full summary »
An army of gay/nazi bikers make their engines roar and ride the way to pain/pleasure as sexual and sadistic symbols are intercut into the dazing chaos and rhythmic experiences of this ... See full summary »
From a murky landscape, a wooded mountain emerges. We watch the sun. We see a bearded man climbing up the mountain through the snow. He carries an ax, and he's accompanied by a dog. His ... See full summary »
A Slavonic Mass by Leos Janácek plays as historical figures, biblical characters, and mythical creatures gather in the pleasure dome. Aphrodite, Lilith, Isis, Kali, Astarte, Nero, Pan, and ... See full summary »
Samson De Brier,
A solitary flower on a long driveway, a key falling, a door unlocked, a knife in a loaf of bread, a phone off the hook: discordant images a woman sees as she comes home. She naps and, ... See full summary »
Two people stand on a road, out of focus. Seen distorted through a glass, they retire upstairs to a bedroom where she undresses. He says, "Adieu." Images: the beautiful girl, a starfish in ... See full summary »
Kiki of Montparnasse,
André de la Rivière,
A wordless film, save for a voice-over introducing us to the imagery of dreams. A shirtless young man dreams of awakening to finds photographs of a muscular sailor carrying him in his arms. He goes to a bar where the sailor from his dream displays his muscular upper torso. A gang of sailors, swinging chains, enters menacingly. He watches, smoking. They surround him and an assault begins. Surreal touches accent the dream-like qualities. A phallic firework, a flaming Christmas tree, and the burning photographs provide climax and closure as the young man, back in bed, is beside the sailor. Written by
[voice over narration]
In Fireworks, I released all the explosive pyrotechnics of a dream. Inflammable desires dampened by day under the cold water of consciousness are ignited that night by the libertarian matches of sleep, and burst forth in showers of shimmering incandescence. These imaginary displays provide a temporary relief.
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There can't be much debate about why Kenneth Anger never became a famous filmmaker.
Granted, Fireworks is not the kind of movie that is going to lead to a very promising filmmaking career. In fact, it's more likely to END a promising filmmaking career than anything else. It is a perversely brutal depiction of the attack and rape of a young man, played by Anger himself, but you have to take Anger's purpose into account when you watch and judge this film.
At a mere 15-20 minute running time, it is not entirely doubtful that Anger may not have made the film for profit at all, but possibly for his own sexual gratification. The question that remains, it seems, is whether he meant to derive that satisfaction during its making or during its viewing. Either way, it is clear that the film's distribution pertains much more to the latter and, assuming that Anger realized this, it can also be assumed that he did not have the hugest aspirations for tremendous commercial success for Fireworks.
One of the first things that you learn in the study of Gay and Lesbian film is that films pertaining exclusively to the homosexual community generally do not have much commercial success, if only because of the relatively small size of its target audience. Even under those circumstances, however, I have to admit that I don't feel that the film would have had much of a chance even if it was directed at a more general audience. It is a hugely uncomfortable and un-enjoyable cinematic experience to a much greater extent even than films that are purposely meant to be unattractive and ugly, like Buffalo '66.
I spent about the first minute of Fireworks waiting to see something that would justify the fact that I was watching it at a screening for a film class at the University level, and then I spent about the next 19 minutes or so waiting for it to end. I did not enjoy a second of the film, but it is clear that there is a message to be derived from it, maybe about the plight of the young homosexual male in the late 40s or the fact that men get raped, too (although, of course, also be men). In any case, the films of Kenneth Anger seem to have been relegated mainly to below even the status of bottom shelf oblivion, and quite frankly, I can't say so far that it's any huge loss.
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