By Catherine Wagley
By Channing Sargent
By L.A. Weekly critics
By Amanda Lewis
By Catherine Wagley
By Carol Cheh
By Keegan Hamilton
By Bill Raden
Stranger than Barney wrangling bees is the fact that this anti-commercial film includes several staples of pop culture: a sex scene (depicting Gilmore‘s conception), a faux rock video, and a song performed by a female country vocalist.
”Working with [musician] Jonathan Bepler has changed the way the pieces are being made, and music is becoming increasingly important to them,“ says Barney. ”Initially, I hadn’t planned to cast anyone as Gary‘s girlfriend, Nicole, but I did plan to use a female country & western voice singing over the top of a scene. Patty Griffin’s voice came to mind, so I went to see her perform, and I felt she had a presence that had something to do with Nicole, so I asked her to be in the film.“
As for his own terse portrayal of Gilmore, Barney says, ”I don‘t consider what I do in the pieces acting -- ’activating‘ might be a better word for what I do -- and it depends on who I’m talking to whether I refer to the Cremaster pieces as films.
“In the end, I don‘t define them as films, because I consider myself an abstract artist and believe that the narrative and figurative aspects of my work all cancel themselves out at a certain point. Ultimately, the pieces end up being about abstract qualities,” adds Barney, whose mother, an abstract painter, often works on his films.
Barney completed Cremaster 2 for $1.7 million and, not surprisingly, he’s had some overtures from the film industry. “That‘s something to think about for the future if the projects keep getting bigger, but for the time being, I’m happy working this way,” he says. “Other than distribution, it hasn‘t really limited what I’m doing. Moreover, I have no idea if the films could handle a broader distribution, or if they could play at multiplexes in the Midwest. I‘m always surprised either way it goes. I’m surprised when lots of people show up, and I‘m surprised when nobody shows up.”
Barney himself will show up at the Nuart to introduce the film on February 19.