Lucifer Rising (Kenneth Anger, 1972)
Cinema as hieroglyphics, cinema as tarot cards: Lucifer Rising departs from the editing style Anger had developed, so that every cut is less the collision of juxtaposed images and more the turning of the page in an ancient mystical tome. Like, say, Michael Haneke’s Code Unknown: Incomplete Tales of Several Journeys (2000), which is composed of a series of uninterrupted long takes filmed in real time (separated and thus enclosed by a cut to black lasting a second or two), the shots of Lucifer Rising have a primacy that makes each important in and of itself, not solely in relationship to one another. But unlike Haneke’s fragmentary film, the images of Lucifer Rising are part of a totality. Like tarot cards, each is simultaneously complete in and of itself but also part of a larger whole from which it gains greater meaning, and like hieroglyphics, the placement of one image next to another is key to telling the story. Another appropriate metaphor is the runic alphabet, which is inscribed for magical, mystical purposes, very different from the traditional sense of the caméra‐stylo.