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 ...
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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 »
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 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 »
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 »
Sexual intimacy. Three kinds of images race past, superimposed on each other sometimes: two bodies, a man and a woman's, close up, nude - patches of skin, wisps of hair, glimpses of a face ... See full summary »
A woman returning home falls asleep and has vivid dreams that may or may not be happening in reality. Through repetitive images and complete mismatching of the objective view of time and space, her dark inner desires play out on-screen.
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 the Great Beast and the Scarlet Woman are part of a visual feast of images superimposed, hallucinations, and the spirit of decadence of the "Yellow '90s." Mythological images from Aleister Crowley, cabalistic symbols, artifice, and magic combine to render the pleasure dome both as prison and as celebration. Written by
Quite possibly,the most incomprehensible film every made, Kenneth Anger's INAUGURATION OF THE PLEASURE DOME deserves a place in cultural, if not film history. Arcane satanic references merged with bizarre hallucinogenic Egyptian rituals, and all done with a straight face, are endlessly fascinating to any student of the subculture of Hollywood and San Francisco in the post-war years. This was a time when to be gay or of a mixed gender was considered not just socially unacceptable, it was considered a sign of sickness. I don't think that a film like this could have been made without the cultural stigma associated with being part of the sexual underworld.
As an 'experimental film,' though, it's not really that original. Anger borrows heavily from Cocteau, Luis Bunuel, Maya Deren and others, whose work was far more original and far less self-conscious. It nevertheless, amazingly I should say, holds your interest (since it's only 35 minutes, partially) and I would reccomend it to anyone interested in the fringes of the art world.
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