Kenneth Anger
By Alice L. Hutchison (Black Dog Publishing, 256 pages)

Neither a full-on biography nor an off-the-deep-end monograph, Hutchison's book is, nonetheless, an engagingly comprehensive look at one of cinema's most inscrutable icons. Although the text is thoroughly sourced and quite informative, the majority of the weight is shifted to a visual dynamic. Thus, the notion that Hutchison puts forth in the preface – that Anger's films are collections of meticulously composed images that just happen to be moving by at a rate of 24 per second – is amplified by the inclusion of Anger-supplied reproductions of film stills, presented beautifully. This assistance of Anger means the book is also able to analyze and demystify a handful of unfinished films and works that – even for an underground filmmaker like Anger – were rarely screened. The dissections of Lucifer Rising or Fireworks or any of the many other groundbreaking films Anger helmed are fascinating, but the films truly come alive thanks to this book's invigorating presentation.