Moonchild BOOK review [Jack Hunter]

Book Reviews
Moonchild BOOK review [Jack Hunter]
Feb 15, 2002, 14:43

MOONCHILD: THE FILMS OF KENNETH ANGER edited by Jack Hunter; Creation Books, 2002

The core of Moonchild is a pair of interpretive essays that dissect the cinema of Kenneth Anger; author of the book Hollywood Babylon and creator of works that have wielded a significant influence on underground film and mainstream directors Martin Scorcese and David Lynch. Carel Rowe's essay is a heady critical analysis that compares Anger's completed films with the writings of French Symbolist poets Baudelaire and Rimbaud, along with principles of montage utilized by film maker Sergei Eisenstein and mystic magician Alistair Crowley. Focusing more on subject matter than on visual descriptions, Rowe's ideas are intriguing and illuminate the complexities of Anger's films while downplaying elements of sensuality, nostalgia and pop culture. The second essay, by Anna Powell, concentrates instead on the esoteric occult knowledge systems of Crowley and concepts of color scales and metaphor that could only have been derived after numerous close watchings of Anger's films. As a postscript, editor Jack Hunter provides an extensive filmography of Anger's work. While Creation Books is providing a service by making information on Kenneth Anger readily available in a visually appealing format, the uninitiated might be better suited by a similar compendium published by the British Film Institute in 1989 that contains the complete text of a pair of Anger interviews that are referenced in Moonchild.

-Jeffrey L. Ouch

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