Monday, December 25, 2017

Puce Moment
Kenneth Anger, 1949

I've seen this movie a (literal) countless number of times--there was a period in my life when I was watching it multiple times a day, to the point where it seemed utterly futile to log that I was watching it. In many ways it's a perfect 6 minutes of cinema.

But the more that I watch it, the more I'm convinced that, like all of Anger's best films, the reason the film succeeds as it does is because of how impossibly unknowable it remains. I've read somewhere around four books on Anger, been treated to insider stories about him from friends of mine who have spent extended amounts of time with him, and have seen all of his films over and over again. I've read (and even written) much about the films themselves. But they remain somehow past analysis, explanation. Their powers lie not in signification, but rather in some sort of experiential magick. Anger's will transposed to technicolor. An opening up into another world.

Part of the key to this in Anger's magickal practice is the method of juxtaposing two objects against each other. The easiest example to point to herein is his use of popular music against occult imagery in all of his films. The best examples of this, in terms of Anger adopting pop music to his films, come in Puce Moment (the film at hand of course) and the Eldorado version of Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome (which I made a few comments about a few months back). The thing that must be remembered is that these films are not edited to interact with the pop songs; rather, the pop songs are placed atop already completed films, and the resulting experience, arguably only 50% anything Anger literally "created," is what you experience when you watch the film. The interactions between film & music were not created by Anger's hand, rather it's synchronicity found only after the two elements have been pushed into one another. Zap! You're pregnant! That's witchcraft!

This same method is used to different ends in the films of Marc Hurtado. Hurtado isn't using pop music, but rather using his own music created independent of his films. I've used similar techniques in writing, where I throw two disparate fragments together using something like a random number generator or literally drawing a card, and will find that two narrative fragments, formerly existing on their own, will interact perfectly. This is the nature of the universe (and the easiest way to tap into it; we can once again recall Burroughs' and Gysin's use of the cut-up). All of this is magick, all of this is cinema, all of this is some sort of current that runs through the universe.

Occult no longer means hidden. Most of us are aware of this current, yet still we refuse to tap into it. There's always more to be said, but perhaps this can serve merely as an easy route into thinking through film. We need to forget about meaning and intention and instead just tap in to whatever it is we're watching, listening to, reading, living.

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