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Samson De Brier,
Nine of Kenneth Anger's films: Fireworks, Puce Moment, Rabbit's moon (extended version), Eaux d'Artifice, Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, Scorpio Rising, Kustom Kar Kommandos, Invocation of My Demon Brother, and Lucifer Rising.
A soundtrack plays folk rock as a woman prepares, at noon, to take her Borzois for a walk. She goes through her dresses, all 1920s style flapper gowns, holding them one at a time, shaking them as if they are dancing. She picks one - in puce. She puts it on, delighted, adds perfume, languishes on a chaise for a few minutes, then goes for her walk. It all has a 20s feel.Written by
'Puce Moment (1949)' is, oddly enough, my first film from director Kenneth Anger. As soon as it began, I realised I'd discovered a filmmaker who stood well ahead of his time. Is that folk rock playing on the soundtrack? Surely, I told myself, such a song has no place in a 1949 film – the technique has since become commonplace in movies and music videos. The film's vibrant colour photography clashes uncertainly with the shaky hand-held filming style, suggesting the rising experimental movement of the 1960s. It's peculiar that Anger wasn't even attempting to be "trendy" or "modern" with his film-making style. 'Puce Moment,' originally intended as a feature, was supposed to be emulating the opulent Hollywood lifestyles of the silent era. The film opens with a 1920s movie star (Yvonne Marquis) lavishly searching for a suitable dress from her extensive wardrobe of flapper gowns, before applying perfume, languishing lazily on a chair, and then taking her four dogs for a walk. Strangely, it all barely feels like the 1920s. Does this mean that the film failed in what it was attempting? Maybe, but it's a glorious failure. Anger's condemnation of the movie star's decadent daily routine preempts Billy Wilder's critique in 'Sunset Blvd. (1950),' and his film-making style clearly influenced the experimental cinema of the coming decades. This was my first film from Kenneth Anger, but it certainly won't be my last.
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