Thursday, 28 July 2011

Shall we gather by the river

I love rivers. There's something both calm and mysterious about them, and whenever I see one I want to either dive in to it, or get on a boat to travel upon it. You never know what is behind the next bend.

I'm not alone in liking rivers, and here are some great river-related film clips.

First out is John Ford's Rio Grande (1950).




Two filmmakers who often use the river both as a setting and as a metaphor are Jean Renoir and John Boorman. Here's Renoir's sublime film Partie de campagne (1936):


Here's Boorman's Deliverance (1972), a dark and disturbing film:


Although a very different film Deliverance shares with Still Life (2006, Sanxia haoren) an ecological message, and shows the threat that "progress" can be to both nature and humans. Here's the opening sequence of Zhang Ke Jia's brilliant film:


Then there's of course L'atalante (1934), the only feature film Jean Vigo made before his early death:


One might add A River Runs Through It (1992), Wild River (1960), The River (1951), also by Jean Renoir, Bend of the River (1952) or The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) and so on and so forth but this'll do for now. But for one film, Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973), perhaps Peckinpah's best film. You'll have to click on the link since it won't embed.

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