River of Fundament (2014) Poster

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Storyline

In 2007, Matthew Barney and Jonathan Bepler began a new collaborative project inspired by American author Norman Mailer's 1983 novel Ancient Evenings, set in pharaonic Egypt. The project was conceived as a nontraditional opera with a series of one-time-only live acts performed across the American landscape. The film River of Fundament combines documentation of these three live acts with scenes set in a reconstruction of Norman Mailer's brownstone apartment in Brooklyn Heights. Barney and Bepler's script reimagines Mailer as his own protagonist who reincarnates three times in three 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 and enters his own wake. Imagined as a memorial gathering attended by figures in the New York literary world, the wake takes place inside the Mailer apartment as it is ferried down the river. Guests eulogize Mailer and ...

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