The Cremaster Cycle is a series of five feature-length films, together with related sculptures, photographs, drawings, and artist's books, created by American visual artist and filmmaker Matthew Barney.
Set against the backdrop of Carnaval in Salvador, Brazil, the movie cuts between shots of musicians performing on an elevated stage; images of sweaty, often splendidly costumed onlookers; ... See full summary »
Valter Vicente Pinho Neto,
Unfolds as a series of hunts in the wilderness of Idaho's Sawtooth Mountains. The characters communicate a mythological narrative through dance, letting movement replace language as they pursue each other and their prey.
In 2007, Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler began a new collaborative project inspired by American author Norman Mailer's 1983 novel Ancient Evenings, set in pharaonic Egypt. The project ... See full summary »
Dave Bald Eagle,
John Buffalo Mailer
A video installation in which Satyrs grapple in a limousine as it drives through the tunnels of New York City. While one satyr chases its tail in the front seat, another attempts to make a ... See full summary »
Lacking a formal narrative, Warhol's art house classic follows various residents of the Chelsea Hotel in 1966 New York City, presented in a split screen with a single audio track in conjunction with one side of screen.
Step the second in my voyage through the cinematic constellation of the Cremaster films. The cycle of five films released over the course of 8 years, apparently derives its moniker from a testicular muscle in the human body and is meant to represent the onset of the male gender in the biological formation of the fetus.
The guy responsible for these is primarily a sculptor, so you will see often basic filmmaking but with an eye for sculpted space, emphasis on surfaces instead of narrative. I bet he loves Kubrick.
Additionally, he seems to have the notion that the five films taken together can also substitute for the creative process, it's really boring if you read up on what he has to say. And this is the thing for me. He seems to be a pompous boring man. He's fond of these stale symbolic notations where a vase supposedly stands for beauty and really labors under the weight of having some sort of layered system that explains the bulk of his work.
Compare him to someone like Resnais or Ruiz, artists who thrive in the spontaneity and mystery of the medium, and Barney comes off as hard and fussy about trivial insights. You can see the films then read up on keys he has provided elsewhere, and that is that.
But this works, this is something to settle in. It is still not deeply centered, in the sense that I was hoping with these films for a cosmology that folds different worlds, different facets of vision into single-pointed concentration of vision coming into being, and Barney is still consumed with grapes trickling from a shoe to take on the ground the shape of ovaries.
Nevertheless, this works because it is less about notation and more about gently sculpted abstract feel.
It is a simple thing, at the top we have two zeppelins - the 'ovaries' - circling the skies and in each blimp is the same woman in lingerie hidden in the cramped space beneath a table and arranging grapes into different shapes. Meanwhile, hostesses in each zeppelin keep staring out of darkened ports in the hull. Interiors are immaculately white, Barney's shorthand for purity. Bodies of all these women are palesmooth, languid skin moving with constraint that is a frigid wish for post-coital melancholy, there is a lot of posturing and vacant looks between them like in one of those ads about perfume.
So she keeps play-acting with grapes, they keep looking as though guarding against something or nonchalantly curious.
But down below is a stadium and twin choruses of girls in dancehall attire assemble and dance. They assemble as the grapes do up above, each time a new shape, this is the stale, symmetrical part.
The beauty is all in the co-ordinated sweeps, the dance between the innocent woman above and the arena where her impulse to give shape is being danced out like a number from a splashy Busby Berkeley musical. If you have seen any of Berkeley's films, you know the big show was never random spectacle, but always the voluptuous expression of the players as they danced out feelings they had been struggling with for the entire film, all of it let out on the stage.
We don't have any plot here and only the dreamy number. We have only fresh radiant beings and soothing Hollywood music. We have rosycolored air that is prepubescent not-yet sex, pure emotion.
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