A Double Bill on Costume and Excess (Dedicated to Kenneth Anger)
“America is the Pleasure Dome of the world . . . There’ll always be a penalty to pay for these artificial paradises.” —Kenneth Anger
The Devil Is a Woman
Dir. Josef von Sternberg. 1935. 76 mins. 35mm. With Marlene Dietrich, Cesar Romero. We invited Kenneth Anger to tell us which film we should program with his Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome, and he suggested “something by [costume designer] Travis Banton for von Sternberg or DeMille.” The Devil Is a Woman, like Anger’s film, makes masquerade its leitmotif. Dietrich’s uber-sensuous Concha Perez enjoys a game of seduction while flaunting Banton’s veils, outlandish headpieces, fans, and fringes.
Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome
Dir. Kenneth Anger. 1954/1966. 38 mins. 16mm print. With Samson De Brier, Marjorie Cameron, Joan Whitney, Anaïs Nin. A hedonistic costume extravaganza through and through. The idea for the film was in fact born from a masquerade party Anger attended in 1953. Anger transformed this experience into a hallucinatory cinematic vision, a ritual that is both enigmatic and idiosyncratic.
Free with Museum admission.