THE RIVER @ TIFF Only on June 11th


Based on the autobiographical novel by Rumer Godden, Renoir’s Technicolor masterpiece centres on three young women growing up at and around a British jute mill on the Ganges: the bookish Harriet (Patricia Walters), the vigorous Valerie (Adrienne Corri), and the troubled Melanie (Radha Burnier), who feels increasingly drawn to her Indian heritage. When the handsome Captain John (Thomas E. Breen), who has lost a leg in the war, arrives on the scene, the three vie for his attention, but it is Harriet who is most deeply affected by her feelings for the tormented veteran. Opening his story in Edenic mode, Renoir blithely ignores political events (the film was released a mere four years after India gained its independence) in favour of meditations on the great cycle of life and death, loss, and renewal. The old-fashioned nature of Renoir’s observations about “the human condition” is part of the film’s overwhelming emotional impact, for what is lost in The River — along with innocence, a young life, and a manner of existence — is also a way of seeing the world, and filming it. – TIFF Film Page

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