Invocation of My Demon Brother (Kenneth Anger / U.S., 1969):

"Images: Kenneth Anger. Sound: Mick Jagger." The albino lad opens his eyes, flickering at the camera's lights; he contemplates naked boys somewhere beyond the frame and raises a glass wand, the green clothing suggests military fatigues, and, sure enough, a sepia-toned flash of soldiers dashing out of a helicopter follows. Skulls are bongs, Bobby Beausoleil's bare chest is the screen for a projected swastika, Anger in sacerdotal robes commands the stage under a crimson glow, the direct recording of a performance (Scorpio Rising was also a "documentary," remember). Superimpositions forge a double torso with a dozen waving limbs, a dead cat is tossed into a pyre, which also accommodates the Hell's Angels insignia -- the whole thing may just be casual night at Anton LaVey's pad, a stray shot catches a pooch yawning and stretching on the rug. Kaleidoscopic visions offer eyes and tattoos in great profusion, with indications of a grinning Lucifer and a self-incinerating generation of revelers, all set to a Moog synthesizer's groans. The gang finally descends into a festive netherworld, followed by a smoldering dummy in a turban (Anger's own from A Midsummer Night's Dream?) holding up a sign with the filmmaker's magick joke. For a more pellucid conjuration, you'd have to go all the way back to Murnau's Faust.

--- Fernando F. Croce

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