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The River Used To Be A Man

THE RIVER USED TO BE A MAN (Der Fluss war einst ein Mensch) Jan Zabeil, D 2011, 83 min

A tour de force through the African Okavango swamp, blurring the boundaries between fiction and documentary

A young German (Alexander Fehling) travels through a country in Africa. He meets an old fisherman near a river, who takes him deep into the wilderness in his wooden boat. The next morning, he finds himself alone in the middle of an endless delta. Here his intimate battle with death, his fears and perceptions of the outside world begins. After days of drifting through the wilderness, he ends up in a very isolated village, far away from civilization. But his odyssey is not over yet. 
His continuous loss of control leads him further into a world far beyond his own comprehension.

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Press Coverage

More akin to Gus Van Sant‘s "Gerry" or some of Herzog‘s fiction odysseys than the aforementioned mainstream features, "The River Used to Be a Man" hardly exploits suspense or supernatural elements in any conventional fashion. Nor does it ask us to identify with the lead as an Everyman; Fehling holds attention throughout with an understated yet charismatic performance. (Variety)

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