It’s probably impossible to assess the full scope of Kenneth Anger’s influence on contemporary film making and video—he is credited with having invented the entire genre of “music video” decades before MTV came along, for starters, and was recently the subject of a retrospective at PS 122 in New York. I consider Anger to be just about the closest thing to a “pure” cinematic poet that America has produced in the years since World War II—our own Jean Cocteau of independent film, if you will. Or if you won’t!
As one might expect, any film auteur in this country who operates outside the mainstream Hollywood Blockbuster loop has to contend with marginalization and lack of funding (consider Orson Welles, who spent much of his career after Citizen Kane searching for backers for his later film projects). Nevertheless, Kenneth Anger, who is now 83 years old, continues to create mysteriously subversive, evocative short movies, and Missoni is his latest: a two-and-a-half minute film for the Missoni fall 2010 fashion campaign. According to a recent article by Rebecca Pattiz at Interview magazine, several generations of Missoni family members appear in it—Margherita, Jennifer, Angela, Rosita, Ottavio, and Ottavio Jr.—their images layered in a kind of ghostly montage reminiscent of Mr. Anger’s 1949 classic, Puce Moment. The haunting soundtrack was composed by the French symphonic composer Koudlam; I particularly love the distorted, compressed sound of atmospheric voices that fade in and out at the end, as if Darth Vader were being channeled through an old AM radio that is tuned between two distant stations.
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