Puce Moment ★★★★

Sixteen years before Hollywood Babylon, Kenneth Anger was already intoxicated by the mythology and romance of Tinseltown history. Rather than tearing myths down, though, Puce Moment sees him attempting to construct a new myth. Jonathan Halper's terrific folk-rock score starts up, a series of spangly dresses fly past the camera like dancers in a Busby Berkeley routine, and Yvonne Marquis appears - dazzling, flighty, yearning and impossible to take your eyes off.

Marquis was Anger's cousin, and she really throws herself into the idle-rich flapper girl she's playing here. She doesn't really have anything to do other than be, convincingly, and that can be the hardest acting challenge. I felt like her character had a life and a history beyond the pleasantly everyday, dreamy fragment we see here.

Puce Moment developed from a film called Puce Women which was to have been shot around silent film stars' houses, but the money failed to materialise and this six-minute fragment is all that remains. It feels fitting. Like so many of the silent film starlets who inspired Anger's script, we only see a fragment of Marquis. The rest is lost to history.

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