The Cremaster Cycle

Matthew Barney is back—naked, glistening with Vaseline, eating a Chrysler, scaling the walls of the Guggenheim in a kilt, riding bulls, having sex, and killing gas-station attendants. The numbers aren’t chronological in his five-part art-film epic The Cremaster Cycle, and the films—shot between 1995-2002—are linked by theme, not narrative. (What’s a cremaster? The muscle that raises and lowers the testicles, an organic engine of sexual differentiation.) Friday through Sunday, Cremaster 3 is a film about architecture; you could call it Barney’s The Fountainhead, as architects and Freemasons seek to impose structure upon nature. Entropy is their enemy, and it usually wins. Running Sun.-Tues., Part 2 casts Barney as homicidal/suicidal Gary Gilmore, with a cameo by Norman Mailer as Harry Houdini; it’s paired with the almost comic Part 1, which is like a Busby Berkeley movie as chorines marching in formation on blue Astroturf in an empty football stadium. Above, in twin Goodyear blimps, elaborately coifed and composed ’50s stewardess figures lounge like models that old Robert Palmer music video. Part 5 features Ursula Andress amid a clutter of borrowed classical motifs; it’s the weakest of the five films, but it’s accompanied by the exciting motorcycle sidecar racing of Part 4 (also Sun.-Thurs.), with Barney as tap-dancing red-haired satyr. See siff.net for schedule. (NR) BRIAN MILLER

April 9-15, 2010

 
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