A recent restoration of The River by Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation and the Academy Archive made it possible to include this sublime film—with its legendary color photography by Claude Renoir—in two LACMA series: "Out of India" in 2006, and again in 2010 in our 18-film "Jean Renoir Retrospective", one of the Film Dept’s most ambitious series. Adapted from a novel by Rumer Godden, who was raised in India, Renoir’s first color film was a daunting task: it involved heavy equipment and long delays in printing the dailies; the cast was almost entirely non-professional locals; festivities and superstitions interfered with the shooting schedule; and sets and locations needed to be designed to reflect a year of seasons. As seen through the eyes of Harriet, the 15 year old daughter in a colonial British family, whose constant companions are her impetuous little brother and her teenage friends Melanie and Valerie, the film explores the mysteries of life in a foreign culture and captures the pain and joy of first love. Like the flow of the ever-present river, the film has a measured pace that chronicles day to day life with its sudden bursts of tragedy, pleasure and pain. As Valerie exclaims toward the end of the film: “This being together... in the garden. All of us happy. I didn't want it to change... and it's changed. I didn't want it to end... and it's gone. It was like something in a dream. Now you've made it real. I didn't want it to be real.”
Bing Theater | $5 admission | Tickets: 323 857-6010 or purchase online.