It is an article of faith among your more generous cinephiles that you should never be embarrassed by the classics you haven’t yet seen. Everyone has blind spots, no one has time to see everything, and a gap in your viewing only indicates how much you have to look forward to!
Un Chant d’Amour is Jean Genet’s only film: a 26-minute, black-and-white, imagistic collage and fantasy of ideas. It’s startlingly beautiful, sensuous, and animated by themes — homosexuality, transgression, dominance, voyeurism — that characterize all of the mercurial artist’s work.
The short is also fairly, and hilariously, summed up by Letterboxd user Tyler, as “Almost definitely the best film ever made about gay men masturbating in prison.”
Like his hero Jean Cocteau, Kenneth Anger is a mercurial and scandalous figure in 20th century art. An Aleister Crowley-influenced occultist, associate of counter-culture figures ranging from Mick Jagger to Charles Manson acolyte and convicted murderer Bobby Beausoleil, and author of the notorious Hollywood Babylon, a profoundly dubious book of gossip which The New York Times famously proclaimed to be “without one single redeeming merit,” Anger’s notoriety often threatens to overshadow his artistic output as an avant-garde filmmaker.