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A River Changes Course (2013)

J.A.A. Purves

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(A&F link to Inside Job (2010).)

From the film's website:

Devastating scars are etched into the red earth as Sav Samourn ponders the future for her family in the deep jungles of Cambodia. Tumultuous waves pound against Sari Math’s boat as he navigates through waters being fished to extinction. The sewing machine taps and hums beneath Khieu Mok’s delicate fingers as she struggles to make money to pay off her family’s mounting debt. Against this backdrop A River Changes Course is a cinematically spectacular and sensory journey into the lives of three young Cambodians and their families and an immersion into a world both distinctive and familiar.

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The film won the Fipresci (sp?) prize at Sundance, so my expectations were pretty high.

I was somewhat disappointed in that I found it flat. If one sees a lot of documentaries there is a certain kind of "other place" documentary that one feels one sees a lot and it becomes hard to gauge the good ones from the rote ones.

Then again, as our discussion of Leviathan indicates, I'm less enthralled by these sort of immersive documentaries than I am about crafted narratives within documentaries. I expect there will be a substantial number of people who like it more than I did, but be warned its a little slow and a little short on dialogue.

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