Cremaster 3 revisited

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Posted by Sadie from D006018.N1.Vanderbilt.Edu ( on Wednesday, August 20, 2003 at 4:20PM :

What can I say.... So, perhaps it is art, in the real sense. What made me mad during the movie were 2 parts: 1) a man filling an elevator with concrete & 2) a group of cars pummeling another car inside a room or garage.

First of all, the symbolism was overwhelming.... & my taste prefers subtle things, but I think Barney is making his art accessible in this way, so I shouldn't have gotten upset about it. In the 1st scene I mention, a man, the protagonist, stands on top of an elevator in the shaft, slowly mixes concrete in a bucket, & splashes the wet concrete into the elevator below him, eventually filling the elevator, until the elevator falls - which is supposed to represent the descent of the testicles, I suppose (the name of the film is Cremaster, after all). The second scene I mention is a lengthy comment on masonic rituals, & the scene basically shows the viewer the pointlessness & wastefulness of such rituals.

Second of all, those 2 scenes were so wasteful - I kept thinking about the elevator & car being destroyed & all the toxic fumes that the other cars were emitting as we watch the automobile ballet & primitive ritual (in a modern setting) proceed. However, now that I think about this, I suppose that Barney is not so wasteful.... It's part of his message, & also, every film that is made in Hollywood these days is 100 times more wasteful (car chases & wrecks, scenes being acted out so many times, wasting so many props, until they are considered good enough for mass consumption).

Third of all, my taste prefers natural things.... & the 1st part of the film was set almost entirely in a building. It made me feel rather claustrophobic.... However, that feeds into the theme of the pointless masonic ritual, as well.... A boring routine that boxes certain people into a system that is a bit outdated.... & perhaps, excludes other people, thereby boxing them into another system that is also outdated....

Fourthly, the main theme that came screaming out at me was that sheer force, power, combined with will was all one needed to create something.... This is the idea that was sold to the American public about the creation of a "liberated" Iraq.... & that goes against my moral code. But, it is my way of being, & not particularly Barney's.... Barney was a football player in his past, so I suppose that is how he has been trained to see things.

BUT, those are not all the main points of the film, & perhaps I am not giving his work a fair chance. I will go back & watch the rest of it tonight because I have to now.... Sometimes, one person's art doesn't conform to my tastes, but that doesn't mean that I have to shun it.... Actually, it is a bit like taking a swim in a lake.... As one walks into the water, it feels cold & uncomfortable, but after a plunge & taking a minute to acclimate to the new surroundings, the experience can be refreshing.

Though, this does not mean that I don't think there are people who try to live an "artsy" life, but fail to get the point. I do take back my statement that Barney is one of those fakers.

-- Sadie
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