Eaux D'Artifice

1953

Dir. Kenneth Anger, 16mm Color Sound 00:13:00

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Description

A lyrical, semi-abstract cinepoem, photographed among the fountains of the Villa d'estee, by one of America's most highly acclaimed filmartists.

[Source: Creative Film Society Catalog, 1975]

While traveling with experimental filmmaker Marie Menken in Europe, Anger was inspired by the elaborate fountains of Villa díEste in Tivoli to design this meticulously structured musical celebration of baroque excess.

[Source: Harvard Film Archive]

EAUX D'ARTIFICE was made in the 50s, and the amazing thing is that I got permission from the Italian Department of Antiquities to film in the Villa díEste gardens, which is about 30 miles outside of Rome. Of course they said, donít break any statues or anything (laughs), which we didnít. But I donít know if they would grant that today. The Tivoli gardens have always been a tourist destination, and as I was filming I had the right to block off certain parts for half an hour. And usually it worked out fine, but a couple of times the American Express bus would come along and they would say, ĎLet us in, let us in, weíre going to be late to see something else!í I just ignored them until I got my shot. Itís very tricky filming with the sunlight, and the reason why the Tivoli gardens were so wonderful was that itís full of big cypress trees, which create wonderful dark shadows, so you have shafts of lights which are almost like theatrical spotlights coming down. I had to plan it all ahead according to the time of day. Itís all day for night, shot with red filters on panchromatic stock. Itís the only film of mine which has been chosen by the Library of Congress for preservation. I donít know what that means (laughs), they havenít given me any money to actually do the preservation. They do have a copy of it though. -- Kenneth Anger

[Source: Electric Sheep]

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