Archive of films Drawing Restraint 9 / Drawing Restraint 9
2004, 145 min
Section: Celluloid Dreams Presents Matthew Barney
An imaginative cinematic dream by artist Matthew Barney and Icelandic star Björk, who also play the main roles. A ritualistic wedding, fusion, death and transformation on a Japanese whaling ship in the Bay of Nagasaki.
Barney’s “Japanese” film, with its soundtrack composed by Björk, represents the first (and very thoroughgoing) collaboration between the two artists and real-life partners. They also portray the central roles of the “Guests” on board the whaling ship Nissin Maru. Here too, Barney is fascinated with the rituals of various cultures, and tells the tale at a lithesome pace. At the same time however, he has shifted away from the Cremaster cycle – perhaps towards the emotive finale of the second half of the film.
The core idea of the film, which was shot in Nagasaki Bay, is the relationship between self-imposed resistance and creativity. “The Field”, a Vaseline sculpture, is moulded and transformed on the deck of the ship as a symbolic embodiment of the theme. This is reflected moreover in the characters of the pair of Guests, who board the ship, and are bathed and undergo a wedding ceremony. Their costumes of mammal fur have their origin in the traditional Shinto marriage dress. During the tea ceremony there is a moment of spoken dialogue (unusual with Barney): the couple learns about the history of the vessel. Their cabin is then flooded in a storm with a fluid that has evidently been released from The Field. The climax of the film is a lover’s transformation-suicide: the couple cut off each other’s feet. We repeatedly see characteristics of aquatic creatures in the Guests. The last shot is reminiscent of rebirth: two whales can be seen swimming behind the ship, headed for Antarctica.
About the film
Color, 35 mm
|Section:||Celluloid Dreams Presents Matthew Barney|
|Dir. of Photography:||Peter Strietmann|
|Music:||Björk, Aikra Rabelais, Valgeir Sigurdsson|
|Editor:||Luis Alvarez y Alvarez, Matthew Barney, Christopher Seguine, Peter Strietmann|
|Producer:||Barbara Gladstone, Matthew Barney, Mike Bellon|
|Cast:||Matthew Barney, Björk, Shigeru Akahori, Koji Maki, Yushin Maru, Mayumi Miyata, Shiro Nomura|