“River of Fundament,” a new film by visionary artist and filmmaker Matthew Barney, will have its world premiere this week at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The sprawling, six-hour film is an ambitious radical reinvention of Norman Mailer’s novel “Ancient Evenings,” created in collaboration with composer Jonathan Bepler.
Best known for his epic five-film “Cremaster” cycle, Barney combines traditional modes of narrative cinema with filmed elements of performance, sculpture and opera, reconstructing Mailer’s hypersexual story of Egyptian gods and the seven stages of reincarnation, in parallel with the rise and fall of the American car industry.
The film features Maggie Gyllenhaal, Paul Giamatti, Elaine Stritch, Ellen Burstyn, musicians Joan La Barbara, Milford Graves and David Amram, as well as Nippertown’s own Kevin McGuire (the star of such recent Capital Repertory Theatre productions as “A Christmas Carol,” “Red” and “Man of La Mancha”) as Ernest Hemingway.
“River of Fundament” will be screened at 7pm from Wednesday-Sunday (February 12-16) at BAM, in addition to an 11am screening on Sunday (February 16).