5 out of 5 stars
Opposing western thought, when Japan gazes to the moon, instead of seeing a man’s face, there is the undoubted image of a rabbit, thus creating, at least partially, the foundation for Kenneth Anger’s 1950 masterpiece, ‘Rabbit’s Moon’. A picture unlike any of his others at the time, ‘Rabbit’s Moon,’ is yet another title within the ‘Magick Lantern Cycle,’ boasting a classical cast of characters, a distinct visual style, and hidden qualities that help to make this work one of Anger’s most personal. Shot behind the Studio de Pantheon in Paris over the course of four weeks in 1950, ‘Rabbit’s Moon’ was shelved for 20 years until 1970 when its contemporary doo-wap score was added, and yet again altered, for another cut in 1979. While the same footage is used in both versions, the latter is sped up and given a different soundtrack, allowing for two wholly different experiences. Anger has been quoted as saying his 1979 version of this film is the ‘kiddie version”.
“The Commedia dell’Arte tradition had Pierrot, among other things, as a common fool, a thief, an affable street urchin grown up,” says Alice Hutchison, an authority on Anger’s filmography and life. The character of Pierrot is a nearly ancient presence on stage, in ballet, film and art, with notable relevant examples including Browning’s ‘Puppets’ (1916), Marcel Carne’s renowned ‘Children Of Paradise’ (1945), Will Bradley’s ‘Moongold: A Pierrot Pantomime’ (1921), Méliès’ ‘By Moonlight, or The Unfortunate Pierrot’ (1904), and Urban Gad’s ‘Behind Comedy’s Mask’ (1913) to name only a fraction of his numerous appearances. With Anger’s interest in the past, and the apparent influence the works of Méliès had upon his films, its no wonder he would step into the classical tradition, offering up his own meditation on the classical stock troupe, yet beautifully blending the classic with the contemporary and his lifelong fascination with Thelema. Among Pierrot, ‘Rabbit’s Moon’ stars Columbine and Harlequin, who according to Hutchison is “A pretty, bawdy, working class girl,” and “An Italian version of the clever court-jester, often associated with magic and death.” In Anger’s film, Harlequin represents a type of Lucifer character, and the first instance of his presence within his filmography, with later appearances in ‘Invocation Of My Demon Brother,’ ‘Innauguration Of The Pleasure Dome,’ and ‘Lucifer Rising’. Continue reading