Features

Hail Satan?

Penny Lane
USA 2019
95min
V'19

Satanismus als verfassungspatriotische, gewaltfreie Bürgerrechtsbewegung, postreligiöses Sammelbecken von vormals vor sich hin privatisierenden Atheisten, Goths mit wasserfestem Kajal-Lidstrich und beredte LGBTQ/Diversity-Aktivistinnen: Seit den bescheidenen Anfängen 2013 hat sich „Satanic Temple“ zu einer rasant wachsenden Organisation entwickelt, die im Kampf gegen die evangelikale Dominanz der US-Öffentlichkeit alle Register einer politisierten Performancekunst zu nutzen weiß. Die Anrufung des Leibhaftigen wird auf pragmatische Ziele gerichtet wie das Recht auf Abtreibung und Ablehnung aller theokratischen Tendenzen. – „Menstruate with Satan.“ (Stephan Settele)

 

If you see crosses turned upside down and men and women posing in black capes, you can be dead sure that Satan is somewhere around. This sinister gathering is obviously an introduction to a hard-boiled investigation on Satanist cults in the US. But in Penny Lane’s witty documentary, things are not quite what they seem. The viewer slowly starts mistrusting the slogans being proclaimed and gets increasingly confused about all these stylishly tattooed, queer-looking guys risking a gay kiss on a tombstone, demanding LGBT-rights, and doing honest community work collecting garbage on the roadside. That’s the moment when the question mark that follows the film title comes to mind. HAIL SATAN? reveals itself to be a buoyant, brilliantly made portrait of a group of atheist political activists defending secularism against a Christian right that claims to be the pillars of society. They use public happenings, radical mottos, subversive fun, and guerilla media tactics to fight back against religious pressure groups. The film somehow seems to join them in this iconoclastic game. When some satanic activists call for the “execution of the president” at a performance and are expelled from the group afterwards, it’s unclear whether the film isn’t equally trying to pull the wool over the viewer’s eyes. (Gunnar Landsgesell)

Credits
  • Cecil B. DeMille
  • Jex Blackmore
  • Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • Chalice Blythe
  • Nicholas Crowe
  • Sal De Ciccio
  • Mike Pence
  • Sadie Satanas
  • Taylor Roy
  • Naiti Gamez
  • Amy Foote
  • Aaron Wickenden
  • Brian McOmber
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