Homoeroticism in the Avant Garde

The two Kenneth Anger masterpieces on this program of shorts mix worshipful fetishism and self-parody. Fireworks (1947) is a sadomasochistic fantasy in which even the light patterns have a phallic force, as in a shot of a gang of sailors set against a black background. Scorpio Rising (1963) is a paean to bikes and bikers and the power seen in a motorcycle or the reflections in a belt buckle. Among the other four works, Curt McDowell's honest if somewhat muddled Confessions (1971) begins with a moving long-take confession to his parents about his sex life, and James Broughton's Hermes Bird (1979) is one of the most ludicrous films ever: a cock in profile gradually gets erect as Broughton's voice intones, “Holy acrobat...sacred firebird.” 116 min.

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