Last night, I had the pleasure of attending a screening of some of Kenneth Anger’s most recent short films – hosted by Mr. Anger himself. The legendary “underground filmmaker” was surprisingly youthful and energetic for a guy born in 1927, looking not much older than he does in the picture at left, taken decades ago. He began the program (in typical Anger fashion, I suspect) by complaining about the quality of the projection at the Disney Concert Hall’s Redcat Theater where the event took place. And he had a point. As he screened footage from a work-in-progress entitled Scarred Faces, Anger noted that the theater’s digital projection was so soft we could not even see the scar on the face of the young man being photographed. This gave Anger an excuse to plug his next DVD release, The Films of Kenneth Anger, Vol. 3 (not yet available) where he assured us the images would be clear and sharp, just the way he likes ’em.
The remaining new films on the program were comparatively lightweight. Elliott’s Suicide (2007) is a home movie-like tribute to the late musician Elliott Smith, a former neighbor of Anger’s in L.A.’s Silver Lake district. Foreplay (2008) is a montage of young soccer players training for a game. I’ll Be Watching You (2007), scored by the Police song of the same name, is a 5-minute short about a security guard watching a surveillance monitor on which he observes two men having sex in an underground parking garage. Except for the hardcore sex, it’s like something one might find on YouTube.