Mouse Heaven (Kenneth Anger, 2004, USA)

Mouse Heaven is a late-era Kenneth Anger short, released in 2004. It is yet another Anger project that was backed by oil heir Paul Getty. Getty gave Anger $100,000 in 1986 to make this film, but Anger ended up spending that money on a vacation. Getty, who must have liked Anger very much, gave Anger more money to make the film in 2004 ($35,000), which resulted in the film we see today. The collection on display in the film is the collection of collector Mel Birnkrant. 

The film is a short 10-minute exploration of one of the most identifiable symbols of Hollywood - Mickey Mouse. Through a range of various effects and edits, Anger explores a wide collection of Mickey Mouse memorabilia, from cartoons, to tattoos, to souvenirs and appliances. We see Mickey Mouses made out of innumerable materials, including plastics, cardboard, tin, and rubber. Fans of Anger will recognize his use of pop music here, recalling earlier works like Scorpio Rising. The film is divided into several sections by chronology, from Mickey's introduction, then to the talkies, and then to his modern era where the full Mickey puppet comes to life. The film closes with the use of the Proclaimers' song "Joyful Kilmarnock Blues," which seems oddly fitting. 

Mouse Heaven is by far Kenneth Anger's most family-friendly film - you could show this to a child and there is nothing objectionable in it. While the representations of Mickey Mouse are kind of creepy, it is clear that Anger has some kind of affection for the character and what he represents to American culture. Anger indeed calls Mickey Mouse a "demon fetish" figure, but overall the film is whimsical and does not seem to have the occultic influences of the director's earlier works. Recommended for Anger completists and Disney fans. 



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