Kenneth Anger

Active - 1935 - 2017  |   Born - Feb 3, 1927   |   Genres - Avant-garde / Experimental

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

During the 1950s and '60s filmmaker Kenneth Anger, one of the key figures in the development of American avant-garde cinema, was noted for his provocative, often violent films filled with Freudian and occult symbols, mystical rituals, sexual exhibitions, and personal visions. To Anger, filmmaking is equivocated with 'casting a spell' to invoke a higher spiritual and intellectual order. He was born in Santa Monica, California and grew up surrounded by Hollywood figures after he became a child actor in films such as A Midsummer Night's Dream (1935) and Who Has Been Rocking My Dream Boat? (1941). Anger made his first important film, Fireworks, in 1947, completing it in two weekends. It was a highly personalized psychodrama featuring himself playing a guilt-filled gay man dreaming of being beaten by a group of sailors which leads him to sexual freedom. In 1949, the highly acclaimed film was shown to the public at Jean Cocteau's "Festival of the Damned" in Biarritz. Much of Anger's work was completed in France and other European countries. Many of his works, such as The Story of O, remain uncompleted. In addition to filmmaking, Anger also has written an expose of Hollywood behind-the-scenes, Hollywood Babylon.

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