Cremaster 4

Putting the “A” in “Art Film,” Matthew Barney’s The Cremaster Cycle is a series of five feature films that you will either consider to be brilliant art or self-indulgent dribble, depending on your tolerance of non-narrative, “experimental” work. I don’t quite fit in either camp (“brilliant” is pushing it a bit) but Barney’s juxtaposed visuals are interesting enough to kick you in the subconscious gut; you might not enjoy the ride, but you sure won’t forget it. Barney challenges assumptions, pushes buttons, and takes you on a journey that sticks in your mind- in short, he manages to do what an artist is supposed to do.

Cremaster 4 is the first- and lowest budgeted- of these five films, from 1994. At 42 minutes long, it’s a good first step into Barney’s fascinating (and/or frustrating) mind.

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