Look back at Anger: Film maker Kenneth Anger's work on display

The images are currently on display, and on sale, at the House of St Barnabas, a charity in Soho that supports London’s homeless people

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The Independent Culture

Below are stills from film-maker Kenneth Anger’s most influential works – short films shot and screened between the late 1940s and 1969.

Anger’s 1947 film Fireworks was one of the earliest portrayals of the homoerotic on film, and he became a cause célèbre in the USA and Europe as a result of it.

 

 

 

The images are currently on display, and on sale, at the House of St Barnabas, a charity in Soho that supports London’s homeless people. A percentage of all art sales go towards its work.

Anger’s aesthetics took a Satanic turn in Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome – an attempt to portray a magic ritual, à la Aleister Crowley, on film. It is a snapshot of the Californian underground scene just before the beatniks and hippies would define it. It starred the influential erotic writer and diarist Anaïs Nin, then an unknown. The red-headed Marjorie Cameron who also starred was married to Jack Parsons, an occultist and rocket engineer who was a key player in getting the first rocket to the Moon, where he has a crater named after him. They were both associated with the science fiction writer L Ron Hubbard, who went on to found the Church of Scientology.

Anger was not only embedded in the counterculture, he also had a huge impact on the rock scene. He had a close relationship with The Rolling Stones and ended up incorporating footage of their concerts into his work. This led to a relationship with Marianne Faithful that continued after her break-up with Mick Jagger. The image from Lucifer Rising dates from after their break-up and her attempted suicide. She was living on the streets of Soho, destitute and sliding towards rock bottom.

Bobby Beausoleil, who composed the soundtrack for this film from prison, also appeared in Anger’s earlier work Invocation of My Demon Brother as Lucifer. His casting was particularly apt. After shooting the film, he was prosecuted for one of the “Manson family” murders and is still serving a life sentence in prison. 

Public tours of the House of St Barnabas art collection take place on the first Friday of every month at 1pm (www.hosb.org.uk)

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