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The Man We Want to Hang (2002)

Pictures at an October Gallery, London, exhibition of drawings and objects by and about the occult master Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). Exhibit titled "An Old Master".

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Pictures at an October Gallery, London, exhibition of drawings and objects by and about the occult master Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). Exhibit titled "An Old Master".

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drawing | painting | art | See All (3) »

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7 September 2002 (Canada)  »

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1.37 : 1
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A must-see for Crowley fans...otherwise, probably best to skip.
5 December 2009 | by See all my reviews

Aleister Crowley was one odd man. Trying to describe him and his religious and philosophical views is impossible given the space limitations of this review, though he's most associated with hedonism and creating a bizarre mixture of ancient religions and Satanism. His life motto was "do what thou wilt"--an invocation to live and act as you'd like, as he felt that sin and guilt were silly creations of Christianity. Some consider him a perverted Satanist while others adore him for his liberating attitude about life and sexuality. Regardless, the maker of this film, Kenneth Anger, is a huge follower of Crowley--owning a large collection of Crowley's works and letting Crowley and his views of Lucifer influence several of this short films.

This film consists of nothing but drawings and paintings done by Crowley. As the camera moves about, you are given no narration or explanation of what you are seeing--unless you listen to the accompanying audio track with Anger himself talking about his film and his love of Crowley. It seems that most of the paintings in the film were owned by Led Zeppelin musician Jimmy Page, though a few others were borrowed from other sources.

Overall, not a film for the average person. I didn't care much for the paintings and I think I would have simply preferred a film about Crowley himself--explaining his rather confusing beliefs and bizarre lifestyle. Now THAT would have been interesting--this film wasn't. If you ARE a disciple of Crowley, then by all means watch and enjoy. Otherwise, it's pretty tough going.


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