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River of Fundament Image
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  • Summary: Taking the American landscape as its backdrop, the film River Of Fundament is an epic story of regeneration and rebirth, set in three major American cities—Los Angeles, Detroit, and New York. Loosely based on Norman Mailer’s 1983 novel Ancient Evenings, the film follows the death and reincarnation of two principal characters who take the form of Norman Mailer and an anthropomorphic automobile. A collaboration between visual artist Matthew Barney and Berlin-based American composer Jonathan Bepler, the film was conceived of as a contemporary opera that combines documentary footage of three live acts performed in outdoor environments in Los Angeles, Detroit, and New York, with live-action cinema, largely set in a careful re-creation of Mailer’s Brooklyn brownstone apartment, where the late author’s wake is underway. Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 3
  2. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Reviewed by: Alfred Hickling
    Mar 4, 2014
    For all its abstruse content and excruciating length, the film has both the ambition and a sufficient amount of breathtaking cinematography to make even the boldest claims it makes for itself seem valid.
  2. Reviewed by: Jordan Hoffman
    Feb 27, 2014
    In addition to the shocking scenes of sex and defecation I found myself reflecting on the way River of Fundament would slide from a typical “scene” into abstract musicality. It’s a neat trick, one repeated frequently and, quite frankly, one worth further examination. That is, if you can make it across the disgusting river to get there.
  3. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    Feb 27, 2014
    Overlong, willfully obscure and scatologically extreme, the film will elicit a variety of negative responses despite offering some individual elements that, on their own, would surely impress any of Barney's admirers. The work simultaneously is more fully realized and less creatively inspired than the Cremaster cycle.