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Themesicon: navigation pathArt and Cinematographyicon: navigation pathAuteurs

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theme is explicitly formulated only in his books, the two «Hollywood Babylon» volumes, yet it is found implicitly in all of his films—formulated, however, in a very ambivalent fashion. For one, this theme followed the logic of the revelation: the reality of the situation, the actor’s authentic life, is the opposite of the heterosexual male or female image that s/he embodies, laying bare the lies that various people, from Bertold Brecht to Otto Friedrich, have often accused Hollywood of. However, it is much easier to draw these conclusions from Anger’s books than from his films. Instead of a clear-cut critique, his films reveal a dialectic alliance, which informs his opposition to the conformity of nineteen-fifties’ Hollywood. For instance, «Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome» has been correctly described as the dark version of an MGM musical. [4] Indeed the film could have used a more explicit reference to this source—though it does not treat it as an ironic citation, an essence that must be revealed, or a simulacrum that must be inverted. The MGM musical and, indeed, all of Hollywood’s standardized productions—the technically and artistically highly developed production of visual


ideology—provided material for Anger’s notion (inspired by Aleister Crowley and other occultists) of a deeper and more truthful human nature, which could only prove itself by beating industrially produced images on their own turf. Authenticity, conceived by Anger as a product of exaggeration and excess, is created by surpassing those same highly advanced, extremely expensive products of the reviled lie-machine. Anger’s work is not trapped in a duality of appearance/reality—embraced at least on the surface by him in his «Hollywood Babylon» books. Instead, it insists upon overdoing appearances. One might accuse Anger of merely portraying the flip side of the conformity of the industrial machine, with what is either his own satanic or socialist, individualist, anarchism. Yet his films, primarily those made in the nineteen-fifties, make a second reference to Hollywood. If it is indeed the nature of the culture industry to conceal the site from which it describes and normatively shapes the world, and if one of its most essential ideologies involves veiling its own particularities and locales, Anger has consistently attempted to deal with the theme of the geographical

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