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Drawing Restraint 9

Bloated yet intriguing work from Björk's husband
By MATTIAS FREY  |  May 26, 2006
2.5 2.5 Stars

Drawing Restraint 9
Drawing Restraint 9

Oddball performance artist Matthew Barney’s new vanity project is misguided, derivative, and overstated but often arresting. He and real-life wife Björk play Occidental tourists in a sim-city Japanese port community. As in his Cremaster 3, Barney’s world is half museum and half parade. In sequences Busby Berkeley and Leni Riefenstahl might enjoy, happy Japanese workers divide their time between collecting blubber and eating lunch to the rhythms of Björk’s prickly beats. By the time the first dialogue is uttered, 80 minutes into the film, we’re on a whaling ship and the Western couple are trading hair prosthetics and consuming fermented whale vomit. The camera lingers on the textures of everyday objects; historical references, however, inexplicably come and go. Does Barney privilege ritual over politics? Unclear. The film culminates with hero and heroine — who now sport blowholes — performing primitive liposuction on each other. One wishes Barney had trimmed the fat on this suggestive but bloated production.
  Topics: Reviews , Entertainment, Performing Arts, Performance Art,  More more >
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