Kenneth Anger – Puce Moment

Anger’s use of pop culture as a vehicle for ancient archetypes resonates deeply with me. Puce Moment speaks of days that are nothing more than a waste of makeup. 

Puce Moment (1949) is a short 6 minute film by Kenneth Anger, author of the Hollywood Babylon books, filmed in 1949. Puce Moment resulted from the unfinished short film Puce Women. The film opens with a camera watching 1920’s style flapper gowns being taken off a dress rack. The dresses are removed and danced off the rack to folk rock style music. A long-lashed woman, Yvonne Marquis, dresses in the purple puce gown and walks to her vanity to apply perfume. She lies on a chaise lounge which then begins to move around the room and eventually out to a patio. Borzois appear and she prepares to take them for a walk. 

The gowns used were owned by Anger’s grandmother who had been a costume designer in the silent film era. Anger attempts to recreate silent era style by using alternating camera speeds. The film was made in the house of Sampson De Brier, a silent film actor, who later appeared in Anger’s Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome. 

Yvonne Marquis moved to Mexico shortly after the film was made. Anger reveals Marquis was a mistress to Lázaro Cárdenas, the Former President of Mexico.

 

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