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  International Film Circuit presents  



Written and Directed by Mathew Barney

Produced by Barbara Gladstone and Matthew Barney

Starring: Ursula Andress, Richard Serra, Norman Mailer, Aimee Mullins, Marti Domination, Matthew Barney

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An epic masterwork with near cult status in the art world The Cremaster Cycle is an evocation of the creative process by Matthew Barney, a sculptor and performance artist, called “the most important artist of his generation” by Michael Kimmelman in The New York Times Magazine. Although the five films were not created in chronological order, and each one comprises a completely realized work in itself, together and in numerical order they follow a geographical path from west to east and trace a metaphorical path toward fully developed form.

Barney’s acclaimed Cremaster Cycle is not now, nor will it ever be, available to consumers on DVD. The only place it can be seen is on screen in theaters, making this re-release a welcome return to true repertory programming.

Available in 35mm.


“Barney has, in fact, created one of the best artworks, best movies, and certainly the best hybrid of the two (including video art) I’ve seen in a year. I found myself riveted to the screen…” – Doug Harvey, LA Weekly 2000

“An inspired benchmark of ambition, scope and forthright provocation for art in the new century.” – Michael Kimmelman, New York Times, 2003

“Offers up the pure joy of the beautiful” – Daniel Birnbaum, Artforum 2002

“His art is about fundamental powers and delights of what art can do.”
– Peter Schjeldahl, Village Voice 1995

“Matthew Barney has the capacity to shape his era the same way that Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg seemed to shape all that followed them.”
– Jerry Saltz, Art Vision 1994

“Barney gives awesome expression to a singularly vivid imagination.”
– Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times 2000


CREMASTER 1 1995 41 mins
A musical revue performed on the blue Astroturf playing field of Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho – Matthew Barney's hometown. Two Goodyear blimps float overhead and chorus girls on the field glide in time to the musical score. Cremaster 1 symbolizes a still-androgynous sexuality, a state of pure potential. Features Marti Domination as Goodyear.

CREMASTER 2 1999 79 mins
A gothic Western that introduces conflict into the system. On the biological level it corresponds to the phase of fetal development during which sexual division begins. In Barney's abstraction, the system resists partition and tries to remain in the state of equilibrium imagined in Cremaster 1. Cremaster 2 embodies this regressive impulse through its looping narrative, shifting from 1977, the year of Gary Gilmore's execution, to 1893 when Harry Houdini, who may have been Gilmore's grandfather, performed at the World's Columbian Exposition. Features Norman Mailer as Houdini and Matthew Barney as Gilmore.

CREMASTER 3 2002 181 mins
Set in New York City and narrating the construction of the Chrysler Building, which is itself a character: the host to inner, antagonistic forces at play for access to the process of (spiritual) transcendence. These forces take form in the struggle between Hiram Abiff or the Architect (played by Richard Serra), and the Entered Apprentice (played by Barney), who are both working on the building while reenacting scenes from Masonic mythology. The film pauses midway for a choric interlude which rehearses the initiation rites of the Masonic fraternity through allegorical representations of the five-part Cremaster Cycle, all staged in the Guggenheim Museum. Features Aimee Mullins as the Entered Novitiate.

CREMASTER 4 1994 43 mins
Adheres most closely to the project's biological model, describing the system's onward rush toward descension despite its resistance to division. The Loughton Candidate (played by Barney) is a satyr with two sets of impacted sockets in his head - two arcing upward, two down, with ascension and descension coexisting in equilibrium. Two motorcycle sidecar teams - the Ascending and Descending Hacks – race in opposite directions while gelatinous gonadal forms - undifferentiated internal sex organs - emerge from slots in their uniforms in a migratory quest for directionality.

CREMASTER 5 1997 55 mins
When total descension is finally achieved, it is envisioned as a tragic love story told in the form of a lyric opera and set in the romantic dreamscape of late-nineteenth-Century Budapest. Biological metaphors are replaced by emotional states - longing and despair - that become musical leitmotivs in the orchestral score. The opera's primary characters - the Queen of Chain (played by Ursula Andress) and her Diva, Magician, and Giant (all played by Barney) - enact collectively the final release promised by the project as a whole.


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