|I deeply dislike the Cremaster films that I have seen - I've seen three of them, and I'm at a loss to tell which one was which. The one that sticks out in my mind the most is the very first one he made (which might be #5). I has the distinction of being the single worst film that I have ever seen. |
I'm not sure exactly where to start with my long list of gripes about that film - I think one thing that really irked me is how shoddy the production values are. On one hand, Barney is spending a lot of money on the sculptures, costumes, locations, and props used in the film, but on the other hand, he is shooting it on piss-poor videotape with atrocious cinematography, lightning, editings, and photography. It is jarring in all the worst ways, and even the subsequent (read: higher budget) films look shoddy. To me, this comes off as an arrogant disregard for the craft of filmmaking, and not at all in a punkish lo-fi sort of way - I get the impression that Barney believes that all that 'filmmaking junk' isn't very important, so long as his "vision" is captured on film.
I will give Matthew Barney credit for being an interesting and talented sculptor, but he is quite possibly the worst filmmaker that I have ever encountered - he is the ultimate pretentious art-film maker. There is no story, just a mix of freaky images and situations from Barney's dreams. I think a lot of the images and ideas in Barney's work might lend themselves better to still photographs or regular sculptures; but the little rich boy has cash to burn, so he makes them into ornate performance-art films for the rich and privileged to stare at and attempt to find content in what is extremely shallow artwork.
I am deeply suspicious of Barney's background, and its relationship to his art - a rich boy who went to Yale to play football, only to get hurt and decide to go into the Yale sculpture department because he had to find something to do at the school, he goes on to milk his daddy's pals for money to invest in his Cremaster films.
So, has anyone seen a Cremaster? Is it recommended? How can I go about seeing these films? Is the artworld establishment keeping Barney their own little secret? Anyone have any more info on him? Opinions?
The art world establishment isn't keeping Barney a "secret", so much as maximizing their profits - his videos are created in extremely limited edition, and sold for several thousand dollars apiece to collectors and museums, who can then show private screenings for their own profit. If you want to see a Cremaster film, you need to see it at a museum or theatre showing the film, or go to a college where the films might be screened. I saw three of the Cremaster films because I took a class at Parsons last year, and the professor was able to score bootleg copies of those films. That professor is an established fine arts photographer in his own right, he got it through his connections. If he tried to screen the film legally through Parsons/New School, it would have been a mess of licensing fees and written consent.