Sunday, January 16, 2011
The Wayback Machine; Scorpio Rising
When I was in art school which really wasn't too long ago, we had to watch what we called "art" films. Some of them were cool, some were irritating, while others were just well bad...... Most were were early on films that focused on style more then content, or they would be work about process. On occasion there was gem and this one of them
Scorpio Rising is a short film made by Kenneth Anger, it chronicles the activities of an NYC italian biker gang known as the Scorpios. The film is a focus mostly on the process of the bikers and there lifestyle it contains no dialogue. What it does contain is an amazing mash up to one of the greatest soundtracks ever put together. The film juxtaposes images of the bikers lifestyle (Drugs, bikes, booze, leather) up against hit singles from the 50's and 60's. Some of the featured tracks are "Hit The Road Jack"-Ray Charles, "Blue Velvet"-Bobby Vinton, "My Boyfriend is back"-The Angels, "Love is like a heat wave"-Martha Reeves, and "He's a Rebel" -The Crystals, "I Will Follow Him"- Little Peggy March (The infamous sister act song).
The film isn't cut and paste, in fact it is rather complex and its considered to be one of the first "post modern films". Essentially it starts off chronicling the bikers as they get ready for there evening. You know them fixing there bikes but after a few minutes it becomes clear that there's another intention in kenneth anger. Anger tries to impart an almost homoerotic air on the bikers in the film, quite frankly succeeds. At several points during the film he flashes the face on particular handsome biker, which can only be identified as alluring. During other parts he splices in scenes from comics that contain gay innuendos, and exploits the outright studlyness of James Dean at several points.
In my favorite scene which is juxtaposed to "Blue Velvet" we see footage of one biker getting dressed with specific attention paid to his torso, and his jeans.The viewer but can't hlp but feel the raw sexuality that he gives off, and you can't help but lust...
The film continues on to show that bikers at a private party in which they were masks, moon and pants each other. It's pretty gay but apparently there girlfriends are off camera, go figure. At the same time we see footage of one of the bikers decked in leather pissing on top of an altar, all of it very gay, very macho.
The film ends on a really fucked up note it actually has footage of a real dead body on camera. Apparently the film was supposed to end with a bike crash but it ended up happening for real, at the end you can see the dead bikers head as the police siren flashes.