Margit and her older sister, Katla, flee their homeland in Iceland after their mother is killed for practicing witchcraft. Needing a place to stay, Katla casts a spell over a young farmer ... See full summary »
Bryndis Petra Bragadóttir,
Valdimar Örn Flygenring
"Voltaic: The Volta tour Live in Paris and Reykjavik" is a remarkable, multi-media document of Björk's visually dazzling Volta tour. Full of on-your-feet moments, the film features ... See full summary »
In 1890, Pontus, the starving writer, wanders the streets of Christiania, in search of love and a chance to get his work published. All he meets is defeat and suffering while his sense of ... See full summary »
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Shirin is struggling to become an ideal Persian daughter, politically correct bisexual and hip young Brooklynite but fails miserably in her attempt at all identities. Being without a cliché to hold onto can be a lonely experience.
Based solely on a tea leaf reading, superstitious and introspective Kay believes she and Louis are destined to fall in love with each other, he who she is able to convince of the same ... See full summary »
13 European directors explore the theme of Sarajevo and what this city represents in European history over the past hundred years, and what Sarajevo incarnates today in Europe. From ... See full summary »
The Cremaster Cycle 9/10 The Cremaster Cycle is a series of five films shot over eight years. Although they can be seen individually, the best experience is seeing them all together (like Wagner's Ring Cycle) - and also researching as much as you can beforehand. To give you an idea of the magnitude, it has been suggested that their fulfilment confirms creator Matthew Barney as the most important American artist of his generation (New York Times Magazine).
The Cremaster films are works of art in the sense that the critical faculties you use whilst watching them are ones you might more normally use in, say, the Tate Modern, than in an art house cinema. They are entirely made up of symbols, have only the slimmest of linear plots, and experiencing them leaves you with a sense of awe, of more questions and inspirations than closed-book answers. The imagery is at once grotesque, beautiful, challenging, puzzling and stupendous. Any review can only hope to touch on the significance of such an event, but a few clues might be of interest, so for what it's worth ...
Starting with the title. The 'Cremaster' is a muscle that acts to retract the testes. This keeps the testes warm and protected from injury. (If you keep this in mind as you view the piece it will be easier to find other clues and make sense of the myriad allusions to anatomical development, sexual differentiation, and the period of embryonic sexual development - including the period when the outcome is still unknown. The films, which can be viewed in any order (though chronologically is probably better than numerically) range from Cremaster 1 (most 'ascended' or undifferentiated state) to Cremaster 5 (most 'descended'). The official Cremaster website contains helpful synopses.)
Cremaster 4 is closest to the biological model and so sets the scene, suggesting the system's onward rush. There is a motorcycle race and a Candidate who is tap-dancing his way through the floor (weird? yes - but it is definitely art, not weird for weird's sake!)
The Guggenheim Museum (which houses a parallel exhibition) describes the Cremaster Cycle as "a self-enclosed aesthetic system consisting of five feature-length films that explore processes of creation." As film, the Cremaster Cycle is one to experience in the cinema if you have the opportunity to do so, or to experience and re-experience at leisure on DVD (the boxed set is promised for late 2004 and will be a gem for lovers of art-cinema fusion).
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