The River (1951)
Confluence: Festival of India in Australia
Asia Pacific Screen Awards Screening Program
Presented by Screen Queensland
All ages permitted
Director: Jean Renoir
Country: France | UK | India | USA
Duration: 99 min
Language: English | Bengali
“one of the most formative move experiences (for me)…” – Martin Scorsese
An undisputed humanistic classic that tackles cultural confluence with sophistication, French master Jean Renoir’s The River is the first colour film in India, shot in technicolor.
Against the spiritual backdrop of the Ganges River, by where her English family resides, young Harriet first learns the taste of life, love and sorrow as she falls in love with the visiting Captain John, who finds himself caught among the daughters from the family and the beautiful mix-blood Indian girl, Melanie. Introducing Melanie’s character that does not exist in the original novel, Renoir’s adaption resists an orientalist approach, instead remains respectful and authentic in its accounts of Indian art and life. Winning the International Award at the 1951 Venice Film Festival, The River is among the West’s most meaningful attempts in converging with Asia, and would inspire India’s master Satyajit Ray, then Renoir’s assistant director, to pursue his blossoming career.