Wednesday, July 8, 2015
River Road (2014) New York Asian Film Festival 2015
Two young boys with issues (both feel the other is loved more by their parents) head home during a school holiday...oh did I mention that their parents are nomadic herders who live way out in the country and the pair have to make the trip alone on camel back (and figure out where they might be?)
This is a small scale epic (the visuals are amazing on a big screen) that is all about the environment. Every thing about this film is geared to get the message about the ecological disaster facing China out. From the disappearing water, the disappearing grass, shifting population and the pollution are all pushed front and center. There is always some indication of the damage we are doing to the environment- largely it's the disappearance of water- no one seems to have any. Additionally all of the characters are not so much characters but allegorical constructs (the dying mother being a stand in for the dying China) and much of the dialog is declarative statements and not the way kids speak to each other.
Surprisingly something about the film over comes all of the messages. By the time we get to the end of the film and the boys are forced to confront the world that isn't the one that they remember we are somehow moved. While I would have liked the film to have been less overt in it's message, I have to give everyone connected to this film bonus points for moving the audiences emotions.
Worth a look especially if you can see this on a big screen.