The online resource I found is an interview with Kenneth Anger from 1980, right before the wide-scale distribution of his latest film, Lucifer Rising (Anger, 1972). The interview was conducted by A.L. Bardach, a respected journalist and non-fiction author. While their discussion spans from topics of Anger’s origins in the world of filmmaking to his rocky experiences with drugs, there are multiple sections that relate to and reflect some of the themes of Scorpio Rising (Anger, 1963).
At one point in the interview, Anger explained that he viewed Scorpio Rising as a documentary. He stated, “I was filming a phenomenon that happened. I didn’t direct the phenomenon. I didn’t add anything to the scene that was not there already. The only thing I did was add my participation with the camera” (Bardach, 1980). This is a fascinating quote, but I am unsure whether or not I entirely agree with it. It might be true that Anger filmed the lives of the bikers without interfering or exerting creative control over their actions. However, one can’t deny that the filmmaker’s editing of the film (along with the inclusion of music and archival footage) recontextualizes the meanings of the documentary footage. On the other hand, it could be argued that Anger is correct in his claim that Scorpio Rising is a documentary. If the footage truly was captured without his adding anything to the scene, then who is to deny its documentary status? Though the editing and soundtrack might offer a new frame of interpreting the footage, isn’t this the case with most of the media we consume? The final film might not present the “true” lives of the bikers, but one could argue that it captures the deeper truth of America in the early 1960s, that of a rapid expansion of mass media and a growing conformity to the iconographies within popular culture.
Another interesting section of the interview was Anger’s harsh opinions on friendship. According to the filmmaker, “Friendship is something that I feel very strongly about because it’s a swamp. I see more people disappear with just a few little bubbles over so-called friendships. Jesus Christ learned about friends. I work alone. I’m independent” (Bardach, 1980). This quote relates to Scorpio Rising’s depiction of the dangers of collectivism and conformity to an icon or group. As we discussed in class, the film seems to assert that complete individualism is the only way for our society to avoid destruction, and it is fascinating to learn that Anger actually practiced what he preached. I find it interesting to consider whether Anger’s hate of collectivism stemmed from his inability to foster friendships/relationships with others or whether he rejected friendship due to his distrust of collectivism.