My shoes have been many places and seen a lot. Last Thursday, we went to see the Matthew Barney film Drawing Restraint 9 starring Matthew Barney and Björk. What the New York Times calls a "conceptual-nautical-ritual romance, or maybe a Shinto-shipboard-sculptural tryst", I call crap.
Not having seen anything by M. Barney, nor being familiar with any of his work, I was excited to see something that evoked so much disdain and opinion in my co-workers. Would I love it? Hate it? Ambivalence?
The movie-going experience as a whole was a good one. I met my movie companion in front of the IFC Center and we purchased our tickets and went to a nearby diner. Afterward, we got back to the theater and took our seats shortly after. Comfy, but not so much so that I wanted to sleep in them.
There was a film short to start, from the Museum of Modern Art collection. I forget the director but it was all images from Odilon Redon.
Back to Drawing Restraint 9: Self-indulgent, simple, and predictable. This film touched on several themes such as people's relationship to nature, and the dichotomies of guest and host, and freedom and restraint. Nothing new is said about these subjects and they are presented in a terribly mundane and sometimes excruciating way: various scenes of procession in the film that seem to create a mating ritual between Barney and Björk:
- People in costume in parades
- dock workers preparing the ship
- the formation of a petroleum sculpture
- the collection of Barney and Björk from seperate places and their travel on seperate boats to unite on a new one
The climax of the film is a tea ceremony between the Captain and Barney and Björk. Here you'll hear some of the only dialogue in the film in Japanese, Icelandic, and English. I wanted to rip the flesh from my wrists this scene was so draggingly slow and painful. The "love scene" follows and the regressions begin:
- the freeing of the petroleum sculpture from it's form and it's subsequent collapse.
- Barney and Björk transcending their bodies and becoming whale-like creatures
- the deterioration and collapse of the dock
Björk is a genius. She is an amazingly talented person. Get the soundtrack from the Library and give in a listen. Otherwise, just listen to Medulla or Homogenic, again.
Matthew Barney is an Ivy League educated hack with nothing new to say. Check out some Damien Hirst pieces instead, or if you are looking to see a film I hear Fast and Furious: Tokyo Drift is coming soon.