Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Knight at the Movies: The Cremaster Cycle; The Tillman Story
by Richard Knight, Jr.
2010-09-01

This article shared 8273 times since Wed Sep 1, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Between Matthew Barney's epic, five-part art film The Cremaster Cycle and the epic cover-up that followed the death of football star-turned-soldier Pat Tillman revealed in the riveting documentary The Tillman Story, the display of testosterone in theaters this weekend will be more than a little palpable.

Artist; model; boyfriend of Bjork; and a sexual provocateur with a thing for oral and anal protuberances, biomechanical erotica, confined areas secreted inside gigantic architectural spaces, large breasted women in showgirl drag and sculptures made out of Vaseline-like material, Barney has been the darling of the art world since his arrival on the scene in the early '90s. His appeal to gay men is immediately apparent. In addition to those often sexually tinged artistic proclivities, he's handsome, hunky and often appears in his movies nude or nearly so, with some sort of self-stimulation added to the mix.

The five films that compose The Cremaster Cycle—created between 1994 and 2002 and clocking in at a whopping seven hours—and 2007's hour-long De Lama Lamina ( a collaboration with Brazilian musician Art Lindsay ) include pretty much all of the above. "Cremaster" is the word for the muscle that controls the descent of the testicles and the cycle, taken as a whole, could be interpreted as Barney's artistic exploration of masculinity—or not. Staggering in their metaphorical and visual complexity or numbingly vapidity ( for pretty much the same reasons—depending, one suspects, on the mood of the viewer at any given moment ) , these films are undeniably the work of a unique artistic vision.

The heavy hand of David Lynch, Busby Berkley and the guy that made the late '70s midnight-cult fave Liquid Sky hangs heavy over the first part while Part 2 ( aka "the Gary Gilmore episode" ) features author Norman Mailer, the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, two Ford Mustangs parked at a gas station linked by a hive-like blob ( more Vaseline ) , bees and Barney himself engaging in some of that kinky arousal activity.

The real power of Barney's large-scale vision comes to fruition in the third part of the cycle—a mythic, three-hour, two-part film set in New York City ( with stunning location shots from Ireland and Scotland that set up the Celtic mysticism that infuses the film ) . We follow The Entered Apprentice ( Barney again, his skin-tinted pink and sporting a pink tartan kilt ) as he attempts to scale the interior of the Chrysler Building ( while a demolition derby goes on in the lobby ) and the Guggenheim Museum encountering torture and other physical adversities in his attempt.

Part 4, the weakest of the cycle, gives us a motorbike race and Barney as a tap-dancing satyr with a trio of hunky male attendants. Part 5, however, finds Barney back on track, and this film will be nirvana for opera queens. Ursula Andress, gorgeously costumed, is an audience of one for a lavish opera that features Barney, dressed in a harlequin costume, who scales the proscenium arch of a lavish 19th-century opera house in Hungary.

Although your reaction to the individual parts and Barney's artistic excesses will vary ( and be warned, there are some very gross moments sprinkled throughout ) , the contributions of his cinematographer—Peter Strietmann—and especially, his composer, Jonathan Bepler are huge assets. Bepler's score is available separately though—and this is something to note—the distributor of the films has made it clear that, a portion of Cycle 3 aside, none of these films will ever be made available in DVD editions.

The Music Box, 3733 N. Southport, in the year's most courageous film booking ( talk about testosterone ) is playing not only the entire Cremaster Cycle Sept. 3-9 but it's including the Chicago premiere of the aforementioned 2007's De Lama Lamina as well. This features Barney strapped beneath a huge truck engaging in perhaps his most infamous display of biomechanical self-stimulation. ( The film opens with a close up of his flaccid penis becoming erect. ) And yeah—ya gotta see that to believe it. Tickets are $10 for individual films, $24 for the series. See www.musicbox.com for complete screening schedule.

Now we move onto another exercise in bravery—The Tillman Story, the searing, investigative documentary by Amir Bar-Lev. The movie finds the family of the slain war hero going head to head with the Bush regime and not backing down until the relatives got answers about the true nature of his untimely death in Afghanistan.

For reasons that have never been clearly explained, square-jawed, movie star-handsome Pat Tillman turned down a multimillion dollar pro football contract to defend his country after the attacks on 9/11. But whatever the reason, once Tillman made his decision, that was that—no questions asked. Tillman signed up along with one of his brothers and after the media blitz that focused on his decision he dropped out of the news until he was reported killed in action. Almost immediately, as Bar-Lev's film reveals, the Bush White House endeavored to use the death of this all-American jock to its own advantage.

The film lays out how the government, in collusion with the media, attempted to turn Tillman into a propaganda agent for its war on terrorism. The urge to reshape Tillman's life story; to make his actions and words fit the public's mythic perceptions was apparently too tempting. But the family was/is tough and unrelenting ( especially Tillman's mother ) and wanted answers about his death and when push came to shove, the truth of his death from friendly fire was much less heroic than espoused by government and media officials.

While fighting for answers, the list of indignities thrown at Tillman's surviving family members, catalogued by Bar-Lev in the film, is jaw-dropping ( with the military starting by drowning the family in 3,000 pages of documents ) but, ultimately, unsurprising—keeping in mind the boundary lines the Bush administration crossed in its zeal.

Like Pat Tillman himself, apparently, Bar-Lev's movie stubbornly refuses to fit neatly into a box and come up with traditional, rousing solutions. The Tillman Story leaves you feeling frustrated, angered and deeply saddened—by the waste of the life; by the ease that the individual's life was used; by the shortcuts employed to present the guy in simple broad strokes; and most, by the dumb and/or lazy public's quick willingness to fall for the transparently phony-baloney story.

Check out my archived reviews at www.windycitytimes.com or www.knightatthemovies.com . Readers can leave feedback at the latter website.


This article shared 8273 times since Wed Sep 1, 2010
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Sisters in Cinema brings back Learn & Earn Program: Sisters in Cinema Newsroom 2021-03-02
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL- Sisters in Cinema, a Chicago-based 501 (c)3 recently in the news for breaking ground on their new Media Arts Center, is proud to announce the return of their Sisters in Cinema Newsroom Program, and ...


Gay News

Awards season kicks off with 2021 Golden Globes 2021-03-01
- The 78th Annual Golden Globes Awards were distributed Feb. 28 in a quasi-virtual event hosted by performers Tina Fey at the Rainbow Room in New York City and Amy Poehler at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly ...


Gay News

MOVIES Director Ali LeRoi on his LGBT time-loop film 'The Obituary of Tunde Johnson' 2021-02-28
- The Obituary of Tunde Johnson is a movie with some familiar elements—but they're used to make a novel film. The movie uses the time-loop element that's probably most popular in the film Groundhog Day. However, director ...


Gay News

MOVIES Dutch journalist talks about making 'My Friend, the Mayor' 2021-02-17
- In the Amazon Prime Video documentary My Friend, the Mayor: Small-town Democracy in the Age of Trump, Dutch journalist Max Westerman profiles friend Sean Strub, an openly gay activist, activist, long-term AIDS survivor and POZ magazine ...


Gay News

New dance film features 46 dancers from 20 countries 2021-02-17
- Films.Dance—a global film series produced by and under the creative direction of LA-based Jacob Jonas The Company—continues with Match, the single most expansive collaboration in the 15-film series. Match features ...


Gay News

Showbiz: Jodie Foster, 'Aretha,' gospel singer, Cody Newman, gay actors 2021-02-14
- While promoting her new film The Mauritanian, Jodie Foster said she "was a little scared of" acting alongside Anthony Hopkins in Silence of the Lambs, Yahoo! Entertainment noted. Of Silence (which has its 30th anniversary this ...


Gay News

LGBTQ+ film critics group unveils nominations 2021-02-11
- The Society of LGBTQ Entertainment Critics (GALECA) revealed the nominations for the 2021 Dorian Film Awards on Feb. 11. Minari leads the way with six nominations, including best film and best foreign-language film; Nomadland scored five ...


Gay News

MOVIES 'Wonder Woman 1984' coming to PVOD, Digital, Blu-Ray 2021-02-10
- The movie Wonder Woman 1984—the sequel starring Gal Gadot, with Patty Jenkins as director—is arriving on Premium Video on Demand (PVOD), 4K, Blu-ray, DVD and Digital, according to a press release from Warner Bros. Home Entertainment. ...


Gay News

Groundbreaking ceremony held for Sisters in Cinema Media Arts Center 2021-02-09
- Sisters in Cinema held a press conference Feb. 8 at the South Shore Cultural Center to commemorate the construction of its new state-of-the-art Media Arts Center that will be at 2310 E. 75th St. The event, ...


Gay News

Sisters in Cinema groundbreaking Ceremony promises access, training in South Shore 2021-02-05
--From a press release - CHICAGO, IL - South Shore will soon have access to a state-of-the art media facility now that a local organization has begun construction on its new brick-and-mortar home. Sisters in Cinema, a 501(c)3 dedicated to celebrating ...


Gay News

Wizard World Chicago moved from June to August 2021-02-05
- Wizard Brands, Inc. announced that its scheduled 2021 live event in Chicago has been postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions and in continued accordance with federal, state and local guidelines. Instead of the original dates of June ...


Gay News

SAG nominations announced; Boseman gets four nods 2021-02-04
- Nominations for the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards were announced Feb. 4. On the film side, Deadline noted that the late Chadwick Boseman made SAG Awards nomination history by receiving four nominations: for his lead role ...


Gay News

Donald Trump resigns from SAG-AFTRA; group tersely responds 2021-02-04
- Former U.S. President Donald Trump resigned from SAG-AFTRA (Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) after the organization's national board recently voted overwhelmingly to find probable cause of ...


Gay News

Golden Globe nods announced; LGBTQ shows, characters and actors included 2021-02-03
- Nominations for the 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards—which honor the best in television and film—were announced Feb. 3. Tina Fey and Amy Poehler will return as hosts of the event for a fourth time. The Golden ...


Gay News

'Draw With Me' follows trans teen who's Jennifer Lopez's nibling; director reflects 2021-01-31
- Draw With Me—an official Oscar entry for Documentary Short Subject—is the story of talented teen artist Brendon Scholl, who identifies as trans non-binary and whose art has been a vital outlet for self expression. The movie—created ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS






Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.