Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Fireworks (1947)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Fireworks (1947) (short)

In avante-garde filmmaking director Kenneth Anger's first official, experimental film (his earliest surviving film), shot over just one weekend and initially charged as being obscene - it was a landmark gay movie:

  • the opening voice-over by the sole character, the Dreamer (homosexual Kenneth Anger Himself): "In Fireworks, I released all the explosive pyrotechnics of a dream. Inflammable desires dampened by day under the cold water of consciousness are ignited that night by the libertarian matches of sleep, and burst forth in showers of shimmering incandescence. These imaginary displays provide a temporary relief"
  • the main expressionistic (black and white, shadowy) homoerotic dream sequence (with masochistic imagery), experienced by a Dreamer, was inspired by the 1944 Zoot Suit Riots when all-American sailors in white naval uniforms attacked flamboyantly-dressed Mexicans
  • the surrealistic dream: a sleeping young man arose from his bed, while he was fantasizing about a sailor (who carried him into a bar with a GENTS restroom and was displaying the flexing of his muscular upper torso); a larger gang of white-uniformed US sailors with chains surrounded him, beat and raped him (a closeup showed his face contorted in pain, as his nose began to bleed - fingers were jammed into his nose - and cleansing milk (metaphorical semen) was poured onto his face in slow-motion)
  • the quick shot of the sailor with a roman candle positioned in the opened zipper of his pants as a phallic symbol before it exploded in his crotch
  • body-horror imagery also included a cigarette lit with a gigantic fiery branch, a burning Christmas tree (with decorations), flaming masturbatory photographs (of young men embracing), the peeling away of raw flesh by a hand to discover a compass underneath, a sculpture of a hand with smashed fingers - and the conclusion with a final image of two men lying together

Surrealistic Dream Sequence


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