© Film Kino Text/Filmagentinnen

Australia 2021

Opening 21 Apr 2022

Directed by: Jennifer Peedom, Joseph Nizeti
Writing credits: Robert Macfarlane, Joseph Nizeti, Jennifer Peedom
Principal actors: Willem Dafoe

A symphony of startling, vibrant visuals and soul-stirring, stimulating music accompanies Willem Dafoe’s measured narration to carry audiences on a journey that began eons ago. Flowing along Earth’s waterways brings a clearer insight into humans past and present, plus giving rise to a chilling question concerning the future: Will we to be remembered as good ancestors.

Rivers great and small, glaciers, streams, waterfalls and falling as rain – water in its many forms and under every imaginable weather condition leads the way for 75 minutes through six continents and thirty-nine countries. Daring kayakers, salmon making their way upriver, farmers tending rice fields, and funeral pyres are but a few of the sights passing before our eyes. Following the course of history, rivers take on a new perspective, particularly when the connection between rivers and people is considered. “Thousands have lived without love, not one without water.” -W. H.  Auden

An ode to nature, River is the second in Australian co-directors’ Jennifer Peedom and Joseph Nizeti’s planned orchestral concert-film trilogy. The first film, Mountain (2017), was phenomenally successful, causing the filmmakers to pause and carefully assess which Earthly element to next explore. English author Robert Macfarlane, with Peedom and Nizeti, wrote an expressive script that is concise and poetic, capricious and relevant. Composer Richard Tognetti’s, artistic director of the Australian Chamber Orchestra, creativity and persuasive individuality runs deep through the film’s score, while Simon Njoo’s editing is assured, innovative, collaborative. The directors acknowledge they had some of the best nature camera people in the world involved: Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Ben Knight, Renan Ozturk, Pete McBride, Chris Burkard, and Sherpas Cinema, plus NASA satellite photos and drones. (Peedom, Nizeti, Dafoe, Macfarlane, Tognetti, and producer Jo-anne McGowan worked on Mountain and River.)

River is well-thought-out, invigorating and enlightening; the text is minimal, but the incredible cinematography is unbelievably magnificent. The arteries of planet Earth are as the arteries of humankind. Undoubtedly this film will resonate with the public, since nearly everyone feels a special bond to a river somewhere. River is the quintessence of environmental filmmaking, so treat yourselves and families and see it. (Marinell Haegelin)

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