Lucifer Rising (Kenneth Anger, 1972, UK/West Germany)

Lucifer Rising (1972) is Kenneth Anger's last major work, and one of his most enjoyable. While the film was finished in 1972, it was not released until 1980. The history of the film's making is almost as interesting as the film itself. It was the largest-budget project Anger ever had, cobbled together from a variety of sources - a friend who was a member of the Getty family, a British film foundation, and German film funding. Mick Jagger was originally supposed to provide the film's score but dropped out. This led to Bobby Beausoleil's involvement. Beausoleil, who was in jail connected to the Manson murders. Beausoleil's score is one of the best aspects of the film - a haunting amalgam of influences from Pink Floyd to Tangerine Dream. 

The film was shot in several locations internationally, including an apartment that Anger was staying at in the UK. Other locations include Externsteine, the distinctive rock formation in Germany's Teutoberg forest, often associated with the occult. The film was also shot extensively in Egypt. Notably, bringing Marianne Faithfull to Egypt was quite an ordeal, as she brought along drugs that could have gotten the whole crew arrested or worse.


In addition to Marianne Faithfull, the film features several other cameos. Most notably, the film features British director Donald Cammell, best known for his film Performance. Cammell would commit suicide in Hollywood shortly thereafter. The film also features Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame and Mick Jagger's younger brother. Sadly, Anger would never make films at the level of Lucifer Rising ever again - perhaps due to lack of financing, perhaps because he was getting older. Remarkably, he was ever able to get the film to make such an esoteric and challenging film. Lucifer Rising is one of the best experimental films ever made.


9/10

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