Magazine article The New Yorker

The Talk of the Town: An Art-House Epic

Magazine article The New Yorker

The Talk of the Town: An Art-House Epic

Article excerpt

By the middle of last week, outside the Ziegfeld Theatre, a line had begun to form of would-be patrons of "Star Wars, Episode II: Attack of the Clones," which opens on May 16th. If the "Star Wars" aficionados had gained entrance to the theatre on Wednesday night, when it was taken over for a benefit screening of a new film by the artist Matthew Barney, they might have discovered much to their taste. Like "Star Wars," Barney's film is part of an epic cycle that has been released out of order: this episode is "Cremaster 3," but "Cremaster"s 4 and 5, as well as 1 and 2, have come and gone. Barney, like George Lucas, favors impressive prosthetics and special effects: a giant with a particularly unpleasant skin condition lumbering over a Scottish island, palming sheep as snacks; a demolition derby being conducted in the lobby of the Chrysler Building with five 1967 Chrysler Imperials crushing a Chrysler New Yorker that contains a zombie's remains. And, like "Star Wars," "Cremaster 3" includes all kinds of references to previous "Cremaster"s: the zombie, for example, is all that is left of the murderer Gary Gilmore, who was depicted, alive, in "Cremaster 2." The "Star Wars" fans might have been somewhat daunted, however, by the absence of dialogue in "Cremaster 3," which makes distinguishing between the forces of good and the forces of evil that much more complicated. And certain parts of the movie, which is three hours long, are not suitable for family viewing, including a sequence in which five dancers parade around the Guggenheim Museum in high heels, G-strings, and tasselled pasties--the kind of exhibition that even Thomas Krens, the populist director of the museum, might have trouble getting past his board.

Hardly less daring was the gown worn to the premiere by the movie's leading lady, Aimee Mullins: a beige, floor-length number with a deeply plunging backline skimming buttocks that could star in "StairMaster 3." Mullins, who is a double amputee, plays a number of roles in the film, including one in which she wears a backless dress over a pair of translucent high-heeled legs, and another in which she is changed into a cheetah woman, stalking her prey--Barney, in a pink tartan kilt and pink feathered busby--on hind legs that end not in human feet but in feline paws. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.