artwork by nicholas crowe
to adequately verbalize the cultural impact KENNETH ANGER has had on modern filmmaking is beyond the scope of this brief blog entry to do with any semblance of adequacy. but i will try.
when i think of his work, most notably SCORPIO RISING (1963), i think of the fluidity of meaning behind his choices regarding imagery, symbolism and music. he is often credited with creating the modern language of music videos, but i think feel such feeble revisionism blunts his impact and limits it o this form. i think he expanded the vocabulary of filmmaking by using music in a more complex manner with various political, sexual and cultural overtones.
his use of contemporary music to provide tone and commentary on an unclear narrative has been borrowed ingeniously years since by the likes of DAVID LYNCH (BLUE VELVET) and QUENTIN TARANTINO (PULP FICTION, KILL BILL) among countless others over the years. just watch his use of transformative use of the music of ELVIS PRESLEY, THE CRYSTALS, RAY CHARLES, RICKY NELSON, THE SURFARIS, THE ANGELS, MARTHA & THE VANDELLAS, BOBBY VINTON and LITTLE PEGGY MARCH in SCORPIO RISING (embedded below).
as you can see from the film, music is often used to provide commentary on themes regarding the nature of sexuality, masculinity, religion and film culture, all without uttering any dialogue or providing any verbal exposition. quite the trick and in my opinion showcases how fluid the nature of language is, both verbal and visual.