REPORT FROM MOUSE HEAVEN

Brew New York galpal Anne D. Bernstein went to see the new Kenneth Anger film tribute to Disney. Here’s her report from MoMA:

The event was sold out. Kenneth Anger wore a bright red sweater and was absolutely loving the applause and recognition. He was upbeat and psyched–even raising his hands over his head like a little kid who just got a basketball in the basket. They showed some early works: EAUX D’ARTIFICE, where a midget dressed in an elaborate robe walks and runs around the Tivoli Gardens in Italy as dramatic classical music blares; INVOCATION OF MY DEMON BROTHER, chock full of occult ritual, drugs, shots of a creepy-looking albino guy, and various young, buff, naked men relaxing on a couch (set to a repetitive jarring soundtrack by Mick Jagger); THE MAN WE WANT TO HANG, which consisted of shots of an art exhibit about satanic superstar Aleister Crowley. And then… MOUSE HEAVEN, which is the CUTEST film Kenneth Anger ever made or ever will.I was expecting Mickey to start whipping MINNIE at some point, but the film was peppy and fun. I mean, occasionally the unrelenting parade of hundreds of cartoon mouse toys and other objects (including a Mickey carpet sweeper sweeping a Mickey rug–which got the loudest laugh) is a bit uncanny. Yet it felt like a positive tribute to a powerful icon. Imagine my surprise! The
film was basically a series of montage vignettes set to an eclectic score of tunes from such artists as The Boswell Sisters and The Proclaimers. The Disneyana would often rotate or move in whatever way it was designed to (blinking eyes, dancing, etc.) There was a lot of layering and simple video tricks. It ended with some shiny metallic Mickeys which seemed to evoke Jeff Koons.Anger did speak a bit and had a few animation-related comments: he considers his first films to be little flipbooks that he made when he was a kid; he also noted that the original Mickey design was made up of circles and is therefore “a magical design”.I’m still wondering if his intentions with this project were really as straightforward as they seemed to be — considering his approach to film as a form of occult magick and his notorious fascination with evil–but anyone could enjoy MOUSE HEAVEN with or without exploring some complex and disturbing underlying take on Mickey. But I suppose the idea of Mickey as fetish is hard to escape! PS: He edited it on an Avid at his cameraman’s home. Sir Paul Getty and the Rockefeller Foundation provided the funds.