The River

Screening on Film
Directed by Jean Renoir.
With Patricia Walters, Radha Sri Ram, Adrienne Corri.
US/France/UK/India, 1951, 35mm, color, 99 min.
English and Bengali with English subtitles.

"I can’t imagine cinema without water. The movement of cinema has something ineluctable about it, like the current of a stream." Renoir’s use of water imagery in his French films continued during his wartime exile in Hollywood (Swamp Water, The Southerner) and culminated in this tableau of life by the Ganges River. He worked closely with author Rumer Godden to adapt her autobiographical novel about a group of British sisters growing up in colonial India, incorporating semi-documentary and poetic interludes. The River was the first film in color for both Jean Renoir and his nephew Claude, the cinematographer. At this point in his career, Renoir had left the protest and satire of a social critic far behind and turned to a kind of reverence for the world. "This film, so rich in metaphor, is ultimately only about metaphor itself, or absolute knowledge." – Jacques Rivette. Print courtesy Janus Films.

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