Looking for something to do the morning before the spirits come out? Your best bet for something just as exhilarating would be the screening of Matthew Barney’s “The Cremaster Cycle” at the Byrd Theater. You can catch a selection from the five-part cycle, or you can attend all five parts.
“The Cremaster Cycle” deviates far away from what one may expect to find in a mainstream Hollywood flick. Stephen Brandt, the organizer of the event, said the closest mainstream work that the film cycle comes close to is Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” (which Brandt later remarks is not even all that mainstream). Both works have very little dialogue (if any) and tell a story abstractly rather than following a simple narrative structure.
Pink Floyd uses “The Wall” as another way to showcase their music, while Barney uses “The Cremaster Cycle” film as another way to showcase his innovative sculpture work.
However, just like the “The Wall,” Barney’s film cycle is an art in itself, although Brandt thinks it is more likely to go down in art history rather than film history.
“Cremaster,” not a word one hears everyday, actually refers to the muscle connected to the scrotum. It’s been speculated that “The Cremaster Cycle” is about the stage prior to birth in which the gender of the fetus is unknown.
But as a sexual metaphor, Brandt sees it more about sexual energy than sexual or gender identity. He compares the films to the creative process of an artist.
The film cycle has been shown in number sequence at other screenings including one in New York, but at the Byrd they will be shown in the order of filming (Cremaster 4: 1994, Cremaster 1: 1995, Cremaster 5: 1997, Cremaster 2: 1999, Cremaster 3: 2001).
Brandt sees this approach as a way to follow the creative process of this specific artist more intimately.
“The Cremaster Cycle” plays at the Byrd Theatre on Oct. 30 and 31. Tickets are available through the Ada Gallery, Plan 9 and the Byrd Theater.
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