sábado, outubro 13, 2007
"NÃO ESTOU NEM AÍ PARA O PÚBLICO. ELE QUE SE FODA"
Kenneth Anger - Aos 80 anos, o pai do cinema marginal veio à Bahia - e quase ninguém notou
Se não fossem alguns poucos gatos pingados no MAM, a presença do senhor alto e bem vestido passaria em brancas nuvens. No mínimo, um pecado. Kenneth Anger é, sem nenhum favor, uma lenda viva sobre a Terra.
Na Bahia para participar do 16º Festival Internacional de Arte Eletrônica Sesc_Videobrasil, Mr. Anger não é lá muito fácil de entrevistar - o homem só responde o que quer, do jeito que quer. E também não quis demorar muito com o repórter Chico Castro Jr. Mas tudo bem. Não é todo dia que alguém do peso dele vem à esquecida Bahia, terra de "tanta estrela para pouca constelação".
QUEM É - Kenneth Anger, nascido na Califórnia em 1927, é, ao lado de Andy Warhol e Paul Morrissey, um dos pais do cinema underground. Aos 20 anos, realizou Fireworks, ousadíssimo exercício de surrealismo que lhe valeu uma passagem para a Europa, onde foi premiado no Festival du Film Maudit, em 1950. Trabalhou 12 anos na Cinemateque Francaise como assistente do lendário Henry Langlois. É membro da ordem secreta do satanista Aleister Crowley.
PING-PONG COM KENNETH ANGER
Como é assistir Fireworks (1947) hoje, 50 anos depois de realizado?
Kenneth Anger Fireworks retrata um sonho que eu tive. Um sonho poético, sexual e violento, tudo ao mesmo tempo. É como uma cerimônia para transcender a mim mesmo. Na última imagem, eu coloquei o rosto de uma pessoa, deitada ao meu lado na cama. Vemos que há alguém lá, mas eu não mostro seu rosto. Eu mostro uma explosão de luz no lugar do rosto.
Você é conhecido por fazer filmes que rejeitam a narrativa convencional.
KA Eu faço filmes há mais de 50 anos para agradar a mim mesmo. Não estou nem aí para o público. Foda-se o público. Eu não me importo com ele. Se eles gostam dos meus filmes (bate palmas), ótimo. Mas eles são muito parecidos com meus próprios sonhos. Neles, eu vejo imagens, mas não ouço ninguém falando. Suponho que, quando as pessoas sonham, ouvem a mãe ou namorada falando, mas nos meus sonhos eu não ouço nada.
Isso é outra característica sua. Seus filmes não têm nenhum diálogo?
KA De propósito! No início era porque eu trabalhava com câmeras sem captação de áudio. E também era muito complicado acoplar um gravador, tem vários detalhes técnicos nos quais eu simplesmente não queria pensar. Então eu trabalhei muito com câmera muda em trabalhos como Scorpio Rising (1964), Inauguration of The Pleasure Dome (1954) e Lucifer Rising (1973). Foi só com Elliott's Suicide (2007), que comecei a trabalhar com som - por que se trata de um cantor. Gostei da experiência, mas isso não significa que vou mudar meu estilo.
Esse vídeo, aliás, foi uma surpresa muito agradável. Elliott Smith (1969-2003) foi um grande músico.
KA Ele era meu vizinho em Los Angeles. Fiquei devastado quando ele se matou, em outubro de 2003. Ele teve uma briga com sua namorada, Jennifer. Eles ficaram acordados a noite toda, fazendo amor e provavelmente, usando drogas, o que é uma péssima combinação (risos). Quando amanheceu, por alguma razão, eles brigaram. Ela foi pro banheiro e se trancou lá dentro. Elliott não disse nada, apenas foi na cozinha, pegou uma faca, daquelas grandes, de cortar carne. E aí... (faz um gesto amplo com o braço, como se enfiasse uma faca em si mesmo). Quando se esfaqueou, Elliott obviamente soltou um grito. Jennifer ouviu e saiu do banheiro. Aí ela fez uma coisa muito burra, que foi puxar a faca do peito dele. O sangue espirrou até o teto, pela cozinha toda. Se tivesse deixado a faca lá e chamado a emergência, talvez ele ainda estivesse vivo, mas eu duvido. Eu mesmo já pensei em suicídio. Uma vez, na ponte Golden Gate (San Francisco), eu olhei lá para baixo, e aí pensei: “não“. Àquela altura, umas 300 pessoas já tinham pulado dali e eu seria a de número 301 (risos).
Na Europa, onde o senhor viveu por muitos anos, o senhor conviveu com artistas como Pablo Picasso, Jean Cocteau, Jean Genet...
KA Quando cheguei em Paris, em abril de 1950, Fireworks, tinha ganho um prêmio no Festival du Film Maudit de Biarritz. Veja, eu sempre quis ir à França, então estudei a língua ainda na escola. Eu seria um tolo se tivesse ido lá sem saber falar a língua, porque os franceses são muito esnobes. Cocteau entendia um pouco de inglês, mas só falava comigo em francês. Era maravilhoso quando ele soltava aqueles aforismos, as coisas inteligentes que ele dizia.
Aqui em Salvador, come-se muito acarajé, uma comida sagrada do candomblé.O senhor provou? O que acha disso?
KA Já estudei todas as religiões e sistemas de crenças e, pessoalmente, eu sou um pagão. Não sou um cristão. Eu acredito nas forças da natureza. Sigo os ensinamentos de Aleister Crowley, um grande ocultista do século XX. Mas tenho um grande fascínio pelas crenças africanas que se espalharam pelas Américas e pelo mundo.
Legado de Anger é visível na cultura pop contemporânea
Salvo engano, a enorme influência de Kenneth Anger na cultura pop mundial ainda está por ser medida. Cineasta que lançou as bases da videoarte, do videoclipe e do cinema underground americano, Anger ainda foi um pioneiro na abordagem de temas abertamente pesados para a indústria, como homossexualismo, drogas, perversões e simbolismos pagãos.
Desde cedo, o homem rompeu com qualquer traço do puritanismo hipócrita americano, metendo o dedo na ferida sem qualquer pudor de chocar. Logo no seu primeiro curta, realizado aos 20 anos, o francamente homossexual Fireworks, Anger mostrou um pênis explodindo em fogos de artifício. Isso, em 1947 (!).
Na verdade, é um equívoco dizer que Anger faz "filmes". Ele filma quadros em movimento, rituais pagãos, seqüências de sonhos, delírios e até mesmo conjurações de demônios, como no curta Invocation of My Demon Brother (1969), exibido dentro da retrospectiva de sua obra no Festival Internacional de Arte Eletrônica no MAM. Se não houvesse Anger, dificilmente haveria um David Lynch ou um Peter Greenaway, por exemplo.
A partir de Fireworks, Anger desbundou de vez. Foi à Europa, onde conviveu e aprendeu muito com alguns dos maiores artistas do século XX, converteu-se à ordem secreta de Aleister Crowley - de tendências satanistas - e realizou muitos outros filmes.
Em Scorpio Rising (1964), estabeleceu o imaginário gay estilo cuecão de couro, mostrando motociclistas em casacos negros com tachinhas e bonés de policial em orgias alucinadas, entre cruzes e suásticas. Mais provocativo, impossível. Em Inauguration of The Pleasure Dome (1954), deitou na tela o uso de drogas como expansores da mente em cores alucinantes.
Anger escreveu ainda o livro em dois volumes Hollywood Babylon (1958), onde desnuda toda a podridão subterrânea da meca do cinema, contando histórias escabrosas dos astros envolvendo sexo, drogas, loucura e sede de poder. O livro era tão escandaloso que ficou proibido nos EUA até 1974.
Apesar de sua aura pesada (o homem tem a palavra "Lúcifer" tatuada no peito - há uma foto na internet), Anger é capaz de momentos ternos, como no seu último vídeo, Elliott‘s Suicide (2007), uma sincera e delicada homenagem ao cantor folk Elliott Smith, que era seu amigo e se suicidou em 2003.
Quem perdeu a mostra dos seus trabalhos no MAM pode recorrer ao site You Tube. Além de alguns dos seus filmes na íntegra, como Kustom Kar Komandos (1965, homenagem à cultura californiana dos carros customizados), Puce Moment (1949) e The Man We Want to Hang (2002), entre outros, há ainda entrevistas, homenagens e refilmagens de seus admiradores.
O legado que deixará este senhor tão controverso ainda será devidamente avaliado. Gênio? Louco? Ambos? O tempo dirá.
A SEGUIR, A TRANSCRIÇÃO COMPLETA DA ENTREVISTA COM KENNETH ANGER
(Em inglês, galera. Sorry, mas no momento não há tempo - nem saco - para traduzir tudo. Tem uma ou outra passagem com reticências, o que significa que ou eu não entendi o que ele disse ou estava inaudível).
Kenneth Anger concedeu esta entrevista para mim e Marcos Pierry (Irdeb), juntos.
In Bahia we have an afro-brazilian religion, and almost in every corner, you can buy a crocket, acarajé. It's a holy food, and you can try that anywhere. What you think about that?
Kenneth Anger: I've studied all religions and belief systems, and personally, I'm a pagan. I'm not a Christian. I believe in the forces of nature. I follow the teachings of Aleister Crowley, who is a great teacher of the 20th century, and the occult art. He was Brittish and died in 1947, the same year I made Fireworks. But I'm very fascinated in the African beliefs and the way it spread through South America and other places in the world.
You've made some films before Fireworks.
KA: Yes, they were made in 16 mm silent, it's a family home movie camera. It just tells 100 foot draw, it's a small, little camera. But these are stored away, I don't show them to the public. They were like learning experiences, so the first film that I showed to the public were Fireworks, that I made when I was very young.
So, how do Fireworks look to you nowadays, 50 years later?
KA: Well, I think it reflexes the dream I had. I had a dream that was both poetic, sexual and violent at the same time. But it's like a ceremony to transcend yourself. And the last image in Fireworks, I have the face of someone, as if he was in the bed with me. In the begining, I dream, I wake up and then in the end, someone is there, but I don't show the face, it's like a mystery. I show it like an explosion of light, over the face.
Your work is seen like one of the first ever to deal with some questions like sexuality, and maybe we can look at that like a kind of a mission that you carry along your career. Obviously it's not easy to a filmmaker with such a profile to raise funds to film. How do you deal with that?
KA: The films I make on 16 mm - today I work on digital - but in the beggining I worked on 16 mm. Rabbit's Moon was made in 35 mm, bacause the was given to me by the Cinematheque Française in Paris. It was the only one I made directly in 35 mm. But I like the freedom of working on 16 mm, because I can hold a little camera. Also it's not so expensive, so I can make it with the money I find myself. Now, it's going out of businness. I talked to Eastman-Kodak, that makes the film and they say that maybe in 5 years, maybe 10, no more 16 mm. It's finished. It's just too bad, because the film has a different look than digital. Digital is good, but it's a litle flat. Film is more lumminous. And so I'll be sorry when 16 mm goes extinct. I can't make the film in my kitchen. I have to buy it from Eastman-Kodak or Fuji or very few other sources, they don't make it anymore.
You're known for making movies that reject the conventional narrative.
AT: Why is that?
KA: I've been making movies for over 50 years, and they are to please me. I don't care about the public. Fuck them. I don't care about them. Actually, some of them I might like. If they like (claps), good. But my films are very much like my own personnal dreams. In the dreams I see images, but I don't hear talking. I suppose that when people sleep and have dreams, they hear their mother talking or the girlfriend or something like that, but I have no talking in my dreams.
That's another point. You never have dialogues in your films?
KA: On purpose. In the beggining, it was because I was working with a silent camera. And it was very complicated to get us separated and nag a tape recorder and to work with other technical things, I didn't want to think about it. So I worked with a silent camera that included Scorpio Rising, Inauguration of The Pleasure Dome and Lucifer Rising. It's only with Elliot's Suicide because he's a singer, that I would begin working with sound and I like it, but it doesn't mean I'm going to make a big change.
It was such a pleasant surprise to see Elliott's Suicide, I love that singer.
KA: He was my neighbor in a part of Los Angeles called Silver Lake and he used to perform sometimes for just twenty people in a little cafe called Sunset Junction. And I'd see, I'd go and have a coffee and he'd played all night, for four hours without stopping, just for a little group of friends. I was devastated when he killed himself in 2003, october 21st. He had fight with his girlfriend. Actually they've been up all night, probably taking drugs and making love, which is a bad combination (laughs), you know, people go crazy. So, when the dawn came up with sun, over some reason, they had a quarrel. And her name is Jennifer, and she went to the bathroom and locked the door. Something a woman should never do. It's very bad for a woman to lock herself in the bathroom (laughs), because if the man really mad, he can kick the door open and beat her up, it's very rude to lock the door between lovers - or friends. So, Elliott didn't say anything, but he was obviously thinking "I'll show you". He went into her kitchen - it was her house - not his in Silver Lake, a few blocks from my house - he opened the drawer with all those kitchen knives and things, picked up a steak knife, that long blade and went - SHEEESH! (make a gesture like stabbing himself). He stabbed himself. 34 years old. When he stabbed himself, he obviously yelled, but he kept the blade in. Jennifer heard this in the bathroom. So she unlocked the door and came out and then he feel down on the linoleum. And she did a very stupid thing. The blade was touching his heart. She reached down and pulled it out. The blood spilled all the ceiling and all over the room like a shower. If she had kept the knife in and called 911, then possibly she could've saved his life. But I don't think so, because the knife was already touching his heart. So her fingerprints were on the knife and it's an open question: suicide? Question mark. Murder? Question mark. She has a mark on her record, so it's unresolved and it's been since 2003. It's four years now. I don't think the police will ever prosecute her, or prove anything. I mean, she doesn't have the strenght to stab (laughs), because you know, anyway... But I'm still angry at Elliott for commiting suicide, because to me, it was a terrible mistake. He was only 34, he could've written much more music. He did the music for that movie, Good Will Hunting. He signed with Dreamworks, he had a contract, it's a big company and one CD was just about ready when he killed himself, and his friends brought that out after he died, it's called From the Basement on a Hill, which is a paradox. That's his last album, it's very beautiful. And he mentioned suicide in the lyrics. And his first private label was called Suicide Records. So this is like, it was always in his mind, as poet, like Rimbaud or something. It was an obssesion. Hart Crane was an American poet that drowned himself jumping off a boat coming from Cuba. I miss Elliott and I'm still angry at what he did. People do stupid things. (laughs) I personally thought about suicide myself. I know that despair can make people do it. Once I walked across the Golden Gate Bridge (San Francisco) when things were dabbling to me. At that time only about 300 people jumped off that bridge, and with me, it would be 301 (laughs). I looked over and I said: "No". I was only 18. But I've had several friends who committed suicide. Donald Camel, who played Osiris, the Lord of The Dead in Lucifer Rising, shot himself, and several others who I miss very much.
You lived in Europe for several years...
KA: Many years. I worked at the Cinematheque Française, as personnal assistant to Henry Langlois, the director, for 12 years. Then I had to go back to America to settle a legal thing. My mother had died and she left me some stocks and bonds in the Disney Company. And instead of keeping them, I sold'em, so that I could make another film.
In Europe you met and worked with people like Pablo Picasso, Jean Genet, Jean Cocteau...
KA: Yeah, it was in the 1950's.
How did this experience influenced your own work?
KA: When I arrived in Paris in April, 1950, my little film Fireworks - 15 minutes - already won the prize at the Biarritz Film Festival which I nailed it. I couldn't go myself, I couldn't afford it, but I nailed it to Biarritz, France. It's called Festival du Film Maudit or The Festival of Damned Films or Censored Films, or Forbidden Films. So, you see, I knew I always wanted to go to France, so I studied the French language in a Beverly Hills high school, and I was a good student, so I arrived (in France) speaking French. I would have been a fool if I arrived only speaking English. Because the French are very snobbish about their language. You must speak French and they'll refuse to speak any other language. Most French. Which is the kind of elitism... Cocteau probably understands some English, but e would only speak to me in French and it was always delightful afforisms which are like witty things he'd say. He was been looked after by a very rich woman who was the vice-president of Shell Oil in France. And her name was Francine Weisweiller and she began doin the fingernails, manicure and he fell in love with her, and married her and then she became, from a manicure, the patron of the arts for many and provided a place for him to live for free with the best meals served in her garden. She turned her hothouse in a studio for Cocteau, in Cap Ferrat. I visited him among all the flowers and he was doing Christmas cards, with original drawings for each Christmas card. And he would do the same face over and over, the typical Cocteau profile, you know, very simple lines and then signed "Cocteau" as a star. An amazing work for hours, three hours at least, without stopping, doing this, he had this huge ... It's like devotion to his fans and close friends, I have one of these and I value. The only other time I saw anyone have that kind of devotion, was Joan Crawford, the American star. She would do personnal autographs for every fan who would write her, she'd write a personnal letter and said: "thank you, for liking Joan Crawford", you know, very ego. And yet she didn't have a secretary to do it, she did it herself, and every photograph she'd sent, "with love, Joan Crawford". (There's an) Amazing devotion to the cult of Joan Crawford...
Who were your underground colleagues in the USA?
KA: (pause to think). Curtis Harrington, a friend of mine, he appeared in my films, died earlier this year he was about my age. Maya Derens, Stan Brakage, who was ten years younger than me, but he died too. I met him in the early fifties and he was a friend for his whole life. I knew, of course some of the older filmmakers, like Josef Von Sternberg, I met even John Ford, you know?
What about Orson Welles?
KA: Yeah. But you see, when you live there and you can talk to these people, they're not difficult to approach - I didn't approach them like movie fan. He'd knew I knew the history of his film, I had some questions about their work. Anyway, I have to go now, bacause there are some people waiting...
OK, thank you very much.
KA: Thank you.