KENNETH ANGER MEETS ALEISTER CROWLEY
A thoughtful afternoon of documentaries about the infamous Aleister Crowley includes Kenneth Anger's gripping tribute to his paintings, THE MAN WE WANT TO HANG. (This film was not included in Anger's recent visit to Copenhagen!)This program is part of a weekend of films that also includes HÄXAN,BLACK MASS and WITCHFINDER GENERAL.
HÄXAN (aka WITCHCRAFT THROUGH THE AGES) 1922, 75 min.
This is the 1968 “English sound version” of the 1922 Benjamin Christensen (Danish) classic. It features narration by William Burroughs and a new score played by musicians such as Jean-Luc Ponty and Daniel Humair – condensed to 75 minutes from the original version of 106 minutes, with narration and inter-titles in English.
BLACK MASS, 1928 – this rare 8 minute German silent film follows directly after Häxan and seems somehow a perfect fit. Be advised, this recreation of a satanic mass contains explicit XXX imagery.
WITCHFINDER GENERAL: 1968, (86 minutes) The year is 1645: England is in the grip of bloody civil war and chaos rules the land. In this climate of fear, self-styled witch hunter Matthew Hopkins travels the country with his brutal assistant, preying on innocent victims in the name of the Lord, accusing them of witchcraft and then torturing out confessions or forcing sexual compliance from accused women in return for mercy. Vincent price stars as the detestable Hopkins in one of the most chilling performances of his career.
A TRIBUTE TO ALEISTER CROWLEY
: ALEISTER CROWLEY: THE WICKEDEST MAN IN THE WORLD - IN SEARCH OF THE GREAT BEAST 666, 125 min. 2007, by Robert Garofalo. Employing actors to re-stage various phases of Crowley’s life, much detail is offered up on the man whom the British tabloid press gleefully dubbed “The Worst Man on Earth.” Visually absorbing, there is lots of information here though the film admittedly focuses on the more lurid aspects of his life & philosophies. As one online synopsis puts it: “The self-proclaimed 'Great Beast', Aleister Crowley was known to the press as the 'wickedest man in the world' and perhaps one of the most notorious figures in British history. This dramatic reconstruction delves into the sordid past and how his legacy would influence many, including President George Bush, The Beatles and Ian Fleming.”
ALEISTER CROWLEY: THE BEAST 666, 50 minutes / 2008 by Donna Zuckerbrot. Another biographical portrait, this film takes a more sympathetic look at what Crowley was attempting to do by utilizing archival footage and interviews with Crowley’s biographer and a modern day magician who was inspired by Crowley. Adapts a much less sensational tone and by doing so it in some ways gets to the heart of what Crowley was all about more effectively. Does it come closer to “the truth?” That’s an open question as it seems there can never be total conformity of opinion about this controversial and ambiguous figure.
THE MAN WE WANT TO HANG directed by Kenneth Anger / 2002, 12 min. Kenneth Anger pays tribute to the paintings of Crowley. His camera lens explores the geography of Crowley’s mysterious and nightmarish images as the classical music of Anatol Liadov provides suitable accompaniment undisturbed by intrusive narration. Employing just the image and sound, the film functions as both a languid contemplation and a suitably sinister tribute to the visions of a man who figures as one of Anger’s primary sources of inspiration.