22 May 2011

Eaux D’Artifice

Directed by Kenneth Anger
13 minutes 1953
Carmillo/a Salvatorelli as the Water Witch
Country of finance: Italy/US
Nationality of director: US
Filming location: Garden of Villa D’Este, Tivoli

A person in eighteenth-century clothing and sun glasses runs around the fountains of the Villa D’Este, to a soundtrack by Antonio Vivaldi.

Kenneth Anger’s first film in 1947 was called Fireworks, which in French is Feux D’Artifice.   This film is about water so: Eaux D’Artifice.

Anger in his early notes for the Cinema 16 catalogue described the film as “the evocation of a Firbank heroine” and her flight as “the pursuit of the night moth”.  This refers to the end of Ronald Firbank’s Valmouth where the heroine goes into a garden in pursuit of a butterfly, dressed in her wedding gown and carrying her bouquet.

All we know about the actor, Carmilla Salvatorelli, is that s/he was a short person, a circus performer, introduced to Anger by Frederico Fellini Anger wanted a short actor to make the fountains seem larger.  The actor is otherwise unknown.  When I first read about this film in the 1990s the general assumption was the actor was Carmillo Salvatorelli, that is that this is a cross-acting part.  Now IMDB has changed the credit to say Carmilla Salvatorelli, and likewise the booklet that comes with the Magic Lantern Cycle DVD box.  However in his revised notes for the Cinema 16 catalogue, Anger wrote Carmillo Salvatorelli.  

The change of mind of over Carmillo/a Salvatorelli ‘s gender is no longer mentioned.  However it is the fact that she has generally been considered to be male, that has resulted in this being considered a classic of queer cinema.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wanted to express gratitude for this wonderful blog. Truthfully, I've just skimmed content at this point but Kenneth Anger, Punk Rock and the Steppenwolf movie being on the first page I scanned - amongst other interesting topics - assures me that I am going to enjoy going through the contents. Hoping to find some info here about Jeremy Reed, Clint Catalyst, Pris, Le Butcherettes, and Placebo as well.