Jean Renoir’s The River

Finally watched The River. It has been on my list a while. I think I first learned about it reading a post on Arthur or Frieze Magazine’s website or something about film as fictional documentary or some other such topic. Authenticity and realism.

I watched it last Sunday by myself at Chelsea’s house on the iMAC. Although she walked in towards the end.

What I liked most about the film was the narrative yet documentary feel of India. It was the India I thought of and didn’t discover when I visited there myself. My trip and experience were romantic but of a different sort. A romancing of the limits of my own boundaries as a devotee and traveler.

Nevertheless, the Bengali songs, river fisher-boat montages and vistas of the Ganges delta combined to create a film I thoroughly enjoyed. It had a quaint yet Technicolor, Modern spirit.

Probably my favorite scene was the one below wherein Radha Burnier playing one of the three main girls dances in a metaphorical scene from myth-and-narrative. She dances the part of Radha, Krsna’s consort in a Bharatanatyam interlude.

For something a little more literary on the film, read Prakash Younger in Re-thinking Bazin Through Renoir’s The River Part 2: The French Renoir and The River. Or Ian Christie in The River


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