Fireworks (1947) - Kenneth Anger
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Kenneth Anger ... Dreamer
Gordon Gray ... First Sailor
Bill Seltzer ... Second Sailor
A wordless film, save for a voice-over introducing us to the imagery of dreams. A shirtless young man dreams of awakening to finds photographs of a muscular sailor carrying him in his arms. He goes to a bar where the sailor from his dream displays his muscular upper torso. A gang of sailors, swinging chains, enters menacingly. He watches, smoking. They surround him and an assault begins. Surreal touches accent the dream-like qualities. A phallic firework, a flaming Christmas tree, and the burning photographs provide climax and closure as the young man, back in bed, is beside the sailor.
Anger's first film was made over the course of a weekend at his family home. His parents were away. He was Seventeen.
The film is a short and immensely effective exploration of sexuality. That the fantasies are of homosexual leaning bears no relevance; it is merely the chosen vehicle for the subject.
The film is fascinated with the violence of sexual submission as well as the fear of it. The narrative seems to take the form of a dream sequence and is laced with astonishingly mature sarcasm and gentle wit. It is by far Anger's greatest film and a landmark of the American avant-garde.
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