Could I be blue?: Kenneth Anger (II)

Pictured: an iconic image of Bruce Byron in Scorpio Rising (1964), Kenneth Anger’s ode to “Thanatos in chrome and black leather and bursting jeans” (his phrase).  I’ve always loved this image, partly because Anger’s blue tinting makes Byron’s swaggering pose even more lurid and dramatic.  Blue tinting appears frequently in Anger’s work.  In Eaux d’Artifice, which was shot in broad daylight, it transforms the Tivoli gardens into a moonlit night-scape.  (The use of blue tinting to convey night comes from the silent cinema that Anger so adores.)  The artificial blue of Rabbit’s Moon is diffused with white and makes Pierrot’s costume appear to glow.  Blueness in Anger means the space of night and the light of the moon, the landscape of dreaming and desire, sex and melancholy.  It renders the ordinary otherworldly, and gives an electric charge to everything on which it falls.

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