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Directed by Matthew Barney

United States 2014 319 mins. (Part 1-115 mins; Part II-108 mins.; Part III-96 mins)

Mature audiences only.

Please note that the June 5, Part 1 screening originally scheduled for 2:30pm has been cancelled.

Set across the contemporary American landscape, the three-part River of Fundament is an epic story of regeneration and rebirth. Loosely based on the 1983 Norman Mailer novel Ancient Evenings, with an ancient Egyptian protagonist who sought reincarnation three times in the hope of achieving immortality, the film borrows its structure from Mailer’s text, corresponding to the seven stages the Egyptian soul undergoes in its journey toward new life. Conceived as a nontraditional opera written in collaboration with longtime collaborator Jonathan Bepler, documentary footage of three outdoor performances in Los Angeles, Detroit, and New York are combined with a live-action film largely set in a careful recreation of Mailer’s Brooklyn brownstone apartment, where the late author’s wake is underway. With Maggie Gyllenhaal, Paul Giamatti, Elaine Stritch, Ellen Burstyn, Joan La Barbara, Deborah Harry, Jonas Mekas, Salman Rushdie, and many more, Barney’s (The Cremaster Cycle, Drawing Restraint 9) multidimensional experience is a sprawling, hypersexual allegory of death and resurrection. “The only thing you can say with any great certainty is that Barney’s magnum opus is deliberately calculated to divide opinion. It’s a significant work of art. It’s full of shit. But as Norman Mailer consistently and maddeningly proved, it’s quite possible for both of these things to be true at the same time.”—The Guardian, London.

Special Pricing

Adult: $12
Sliver Screen Club: $10
Series Pass General: $25
Series Pass Silver Screen Club (all levels): $20
No PAM discount available

Purchase series passes here. Members must log in to activate discount.

Genres: Experimental, Drama

The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.