fbpx The River | George Eastman Museum

Planning a visit? Masks encouraged for museum visitors. Advance tickets recommended for nonmembers; click here to purchase tickets for future dates. 

The River

Thursday, December 8, 2022, 7:30 p.m., Dryden Theatre

(Jean Renoir, US/France/India 1951, 99 min., 35mm)

The River is in many ways a groundbreaking motion picture, even if only because of the impressive list of filmmakers influenced by it: from Satyajit Ray to Martin Scorsese and Wes Anderson. The director Jean Renoir jokingly defined it as “a film about India without elephants and tiger hunts,” and for many, it became the true discovery of India on screen. Shot with a mixed cast of professional and non-professional actors, this story of an English colonialist family living along the banks of the Ganges is seemingly plotless, and yet full of life-defining events. It is a metaphor, a work of poetry, as the Europeans find harmony and inspiration from the land, the river and those who inhabit it: people, animals, and trees. The first Indian feature made in Technicolor, it was also Renoir’s first color film. As such, it was greatly anticipated – and exceeded the expectations. Andre Bazin, arguably the most influential film critic of all times, glorified it instantly: “Color film is finally born! True color film! And, in one fell swoop, it erases even our memory of black-and-white film, as sound-film did to silent images.” This is a rare opportunity to see a sixty-year-old IB Technicolor print of this legendary film.

Post-screening discussion with Senior Curator Peter Bagrov.