Kustom Kar Kommandos (1965)
Directed by Kenneth Anger
Cinematography by Kenneth Anger
Kustom Kar Kommandos is one of Anger’s most unabashedly beautiful works, full of sensual pinks and blues, soft yet artful lighting, and a camera that dances over the glistening surfaces of metal and skin. The costumes are stylized and monochromatic, and the limbs and hands caressing the car are abstracted and bodiless as they tenderly wipe with a ball of fluffy feathers. The song “Dream Lover” juxtaposed with Anger’s sensual depiction of automobile-worship seems to foreshadow the Queen song from a few years later, “I’m in Love With My Car”. Scorpio Rising was already combining montage and pop music in a way that anticipated the contemporary MTV pop video, but Kustom Kar was the first of Anger’s films for me in which specific pop music moments were brought to mind. It’s a trend that continued throughout my viewing of his work, and I’m not sure to what extent it has to do with Anger, the pop music industry, or simply my own eagerness to associate the two more directly.