Kenneth Anger
USA 1947
14 min

At different points in the film we see images of post-war American culture and authority, all of which are subverted and/or appropriated as part of the dreamer's journey. The sailor, an embodiment of the military might of the newfound superpower nation, is simultaneously also the quintessence of the homoerotic lust object. America's (supposedly) healthiest beverage, milk, is rendered as a stand-in for seminal fluid. And two iconic American holiday objects, Christmas trees and fireworks - used to celebrate the nation's most patriotic occasion, Independence Day - become charged symbols in the dreamer's quest for a sexual fulfillment which (like the torch which opens the film) is otherwise doused by conventional social mores and standards. <i>Fireworks</i> is not only Anger's first major film, but it also introduces many of the themes and motifs which would come to populate his later works. Foremost among these is the concern with light. From the film's title and opening image of a torch being thrown into water, through the lightning flashes and subsequent journey into darkness that the protagonist takes, and concluding with pyrotechnic orgasms and a lover surrounded by a corona scratched onto the film's surface. <i>Fireworks</i> is a film obsessed with the technical and metaphoric use of light. The dreamer of Anger's synopsis ultimately finds his «light» in the sailor with a phallic roman candle who becomes a god-like figure, laying in bed with the dreamer at the film's end. Throughout the rest of his career Anger has remained fascinated with this idea of light and the character of Lucifer, who is literally the god of light.

This film is part of the program <filmlink id=\"3030\">Sunshine Noir</filmlink>.

  • Kenneth Anger
  • Gordon Gray
  • Bill Seltzer
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