Desire. Intention. Ambition. If fashion has long been the crowning companion of the wealthy, it can also be a powerful accomplice to the disadvantaged through its sense of play and artifice. Assuming a persona can be empowering, and manipulating it adds to the irony. So what happens when the disaffected communities of New York take their dreams to the ballroom?
Filmed between 1966 and 1980 by the self-proclaimed Magus of cinema, Kenneth Anger, Lucifer Rising is Anger’s portrait of the love generation, the dawning of a new age and morality. Continuing on from his previous works where fashion becomes a tool of power to conjure a magical sense of being, an invisible and volatile force, Lucifer Rising furthers this exploration crossing through millennia and civilisations.
With the power to transgress social codes and conventions, clothes can reveal themselves as a weapon, a provocation, a liberation; in darker times, repression. From documentaries to features to recordings of performances, this series of films explores fashion’s intimate complicity to the film medium in order to summon power in both contemporary and past times.
In the realm of spectacle, fashion and image reign. Agents of illusion and artifice, they play a role within the system and game of hierarchy. With Italian filmmaker and provocateur Frederico Fellini’s unbridled theatricality, the Catholic Church comes under such consideration and mockery.