Matthew Barney presents a radical reinvention of Norman Mailer's Ancient Evenings
Six years in the making, Matthew Barney's River of Fundament is finally ready for its grand unveiling. Barney, who caught the art world's undivided attention with the Cremaster Cycle, looks to Norman Mailer for inspiration for his latest work. Collaborating with Cremaster composer Jonathan Bepler, the visual artist has conceived what he calls "an American opera that is epic in proportion." Featuring Maggie Gyllenhaal, Paul Giamatti, Elaine Stritch, Ellen Burstyn, Joan La Barbara, and jazz percussionist Milford Graves, the film sees Barney working with text for first time and is loosely based on Norman Mailer's 1983 novel about Egyptian mysticism, Ancient Evenings. Set Los Angeles, Detroit, and New York, Barney's story follows the death and reincarnation of two characters, who take the form of Norman Mailer and an anthropomorphic automobile. The filmmaker has even imagined a lavish wake for Mailer, which finds the likes of Salman Rushdie, Liz Smith and Dick Cavett dining in the late author's honor. Clocking in at nearly six hours with two 20-minute intermissions, River of Fundament is certain to be unlike anything you've ever experienced before.