Five hours long and over seven years in the making, Matthew Barney’s epic 2014 film RIVER OF FUNDAMENT received a rare screening at Sonica 2017. Loosely based on Norman Mailer’s novel of the Egyptian pharaohs, Ancient Evenings – a book Barney loves, despite its critical slating – the film explores themes of decay and reincarnation, of digestion and consumption, of the end of one kind of life and the birth of another. With a cast that includes Maggie Gyllenhaal, Deborah Harry, Salman Rushdie, and Barney himself, and music by celebrated composer Jonathan Bepler, Barney’s film is ambitious, surreal, scatological, satirical, confrontational, awe-inspiring – and always surprising.

A film by: Matthew Barney & Jonathan Bepler
Written and directed by: Matthew Barney
Director of photography: Peter Strietmann
Edited by: Katherine McQueery
Music composed & directed by: Jonathan Bepler
Production design: Matthew D. Ryle
Producer: Mike Bellon
Produced by: Matthew Barney & Laurenz Foundation

Cast includes: David Amram, Matthew Barney, Chief Dave Beautiful Bald Eagle, Ellen Burstyn, Dick Cavett, Madyn G. Coakley, Paul Giamatti, Milford Graves, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Deborah Harry, Joan LaBarbara, Fran Lebowitz, John Buffalo Mailer, Jonas Mekas, Aimee Mullins, Stephen Payne, Eugene Perry, Herbert Perry, Salman Rushdie, Elaine Stritch, James Toback, Lawrence Weiner

© Matthew Barney
Music © Jonathan Bepler, 2014

Production Still
Chris Winget
© Matthew Barney, Courtesy Gladstone Gallery,
New York and Brussels