February 20 (Thursday) 7 pm
Directed by Robb Moss
US 2003, video, color, 78 min.
Twenty-five years ago, a group of twenty-somethings became white-water guides on the Colorado River. Living communally, and often naked, they worked hard at being environmentally alert and materially indifferent. Among the members of this close-knit group was the (then) young nonfiction filmmaker Robb Moss, whose early work Riverdogs (1978) was a depiction of their live-in-the-moment, physically exhilarating existence. Presenting them risking life and limb to kayak, climb, and, in general, express what remained of their extended adolescence, the film rendered a kind of utopia in which the grandness of the group’s surroundings magnified their intentions to live by a code of simplicity, rigor, and community.
For almost a generation now, these "dogs" have worked at establishing families, making money, and reorienting their values to the requirements of grown-up life. Several have become mayors of their small towns, one a radio talk-show host, and yet another an aerobics instructor. Only one still works as a river guide. By interweaving images from their former river lives with scenes shot over the last six years, Moss’s new film, The Same River Twice, attempts a collective, temporal mosaic of the life choices that five of the original river dogs have made. It is a tale that chronicles the particular journey of a specific generation and yet speaks universally to the changes that await every generation.
Robb Moss is the Rudolf Arnheim Lecturer on Filmmaking in the Department of Visual and Environmental Studies at Harvard. As an independent nonfiction filmmaker he has traveled to Ethiopia, Liberia, Greece, Mexico, Hungary, Japan, Turkey, Nicaragua, and Gambia, creating work on such subjects as famine, genocide, and the large-scale structure of the universe. His films have been presented at festivals worldwide and have received numerous awards. The Same River Twice had its world premiere recently at the Sundance Film Festival.
This screening is co-sponsored by the Film Study Center.