River of Fundament by Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler (USA, 2014, 350 min.). Starring Paul Giamatti, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Ellen Burstyn, this six-hour video opera by art icon Matthew Barney (The Cremaster Cycle) and composer Jonathan Bepler is inspired by Norman Mailer’s 1983 novel Ancient Evenings. While Mailer’s book was set in pharaonic Egypt, Barney and Bepler’s adaptation combines documentation of three live acts performed across the American landscape with scenes set in a reconstruction of Norman Mailer’s brownstone apartment in Brooklyn Heights. Barney and Bepler reimagine Mailer as his own protagonist who reincarnates three times in different bodies by magically entering the womb of his wife Hathfertiti. With each incarnation, the undead Norman emerges from a river of feces that runs beneath his Brooklyn Heights apartment.
Special after-hours screenings on February 7 and 14 offer an alternative to traditional Superbowl Sunday and Valentine’s Day fare. These events will feature wine, snacks and live music by BATHAUS (2/7) and Animal Hospital (2/14).
University Members with a valid ID can purchase tickets for $5 per act ($15 for the series). These tickets must be purchased in person on the day of the screening.
River of Fundament is a graphic film for adults only. It is 5 hours and 50 minutes long with two intermissions. To prepare for the experience, we recommend watching the trailer and Charlie Rose’s interview with Matthew Barney. You may also like to visit the River of Fundament Official Website, where you can view Barney’s sculptures related to the film and read a complete synopsis.
The discounted pass for River of Fundament includes admission to all three acts. These can be viewed in one sitting or spread out over multiple dates.
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