Kenneth Anger, one of the most unclassifiable film directors and the chronicler of the dirty laundry of the movie mecca in his book Hollywood Babylon, has died at the age of 96, as announced by the art gallery that has exhibited his works and has picked up the Los Angeles Times. The Associated Press agency has added that the death It took place on May 11. at his Yucca Valley home and from natural causes.
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His wild short films, experimental, limitless, radical, have been an evident and recognized inspiration for filmmakers like John Waters or David Lynch. Fetishism, sadomasochism, occultism, surrealism or sexual dissidence are the sources from which he drinks his extensive work.
“Kenneth was a pioneer. His cinematic genius and his influence will live on and continue to transform all those who come across his films, words and vision, ”the gallery, Sprüth Magers, posted on his Twitter account.
Anger, who was born in Hollywood itself in 1927, the son of actors, never directed a film for any of the major studios. He created more than 40 short films, making his first in 1937 while still a 10-year-old boy, and was one of the first openly gay directors in the film world. Fireworks It was his first relevant work, shot in 1947 and explicitly homosexual and with a sadomasochistic theme in which the teachings of the occultist Aleister Crowley are filtered.
In 1954 he shot Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, in which the writer Anaïs Nin starred, and in 1963 her famous Scorpio Rising, a cult jewel where rebel bikers, 60s pop music, the occult, homosexuality and Nazism come together.
The book in two volumes hollywood babylon which Anger first published in France in 1959 (and the second in 1984) brought him fame beyond its bawdy, provocative and experimental setting. It is a coded account of rumors or gossip about the intimate lives of the people who make up the film industry, in the style of the columns in magazines dedicated to entertainment, about the film industry between 1900 and 1950. Its intention was to confront the apparent Hollywood puritanism.
A proscribed and prohibited book that was not published in the United States until 1965 and that even after that date was difficult to find. When the New York Times reviewed it in 1975, it called it “a 306-page box of poisoned chocolates” written as if a “sex maniac had taken over Reader’s Digest.” In Spain, Tusquets published it for the first time in 1985. The film Babylon by Damien Chazelle is slightly inspired by passages from his book.