Anger: An Unauthorized Biography of Kenneth Anger

Bill Landis, Author
Bill Landis, Author HarperCollins Publishers $25 (290p) ISBN 978-0-06-016700-4
Reviewed on: 07/03/1995
Release date: 07/01/1995
Paperback - 978-0-06-092214-6
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Creator of such cinematic cult classics as Scorpio Rising and Fireworks, and author of the eye-opening Hollywood Babylon books, Kenneth Anger is one of America's most noted and innovative underground filmmakers. He is also a recluse who has reinvented his life history at will, which makes him a difficult subject for a biography. But Landis's claim to have arrived at a fairly accurate portrait of Anger is substantiated by meticulous research and detailed interviews with many of Anger's family and associates. The portrait that emerges here is of an iconoclast whose personal relations are fraught with conflict but whose artistic vision has remained uncompromised. Anger's story is also of interest because of his collaborations with other countercultural luminaries: his provocative aesthetic has attracted the attention of, among others, avant-gardists Anais Nin and Marianne Faithfull, rock icons Mick Jagger and Jimmy Page and sexuality expert Alfred Kinsey. This study also offers a useful history of the underground film scene and of the occultist tradition, an important influence on Anger's work. Although Landis's prose is not particularly energetic, his account of Anger's existence on, and cinematic exploration of, the fringes of modern culture is engrossing. Photos not seen by PW. (July)
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