Koch on Film
By Ed Koch
The Same River Twice (+)
In 1978, about a dozen people in their mid or late 20s took a trip down the Colorado River which was recorded on video. Fifteen years later, Robb Moss, now at Harvard and a professional filmmaker decides to revisit those who were filmed to get their memories of the trip and their current condition.
Two of them have become mayors of small towns out west. Barry Wasserman is at the moment running for reelection and comes in third, and Cathy Shaw has divorced her husband who was having an affair and remarried. Her new husband is the teacher of one of her children who was brought home for dinner one evening. Charmingly she reports to the camera that when she first met him her son said, Mom, youre not going to marry my teacher are you? She recalls replying, Oh yes I am. Danny Silver recalls her affair on the Colorado River with the trip leader, Jim Tickenor, who is still a guide on the river and appears from my observation not to have grown up. All of the experiences related on the river and 15 years later are immensely interesting. When the boat trip took place, all of those participating, at least when filmed, walked and boated naked. Interestingly, there was nothing sexual on seeing them without clothes. Indeed, it seemed perfectly natural and in keeping with the idyllic Garden of Eden atmosphere that prevailed.
The idea of making a movie using earlier home movies is not novel, but nevertheless not much in vogue. The most recent one Ive seen before this was Capturing The Friedmans, which was far more substantive, somber and impacting. But The Same River Twice was a delight. It has been showing at the Film Forum and will be closing there. I hope it will be picked up by other of the art houses in the Village area. See it when the opportunity arises.
This movie had great potential but failed. It has too many plots and too many characters. While the acting in the separate wisps of stories depicted is excellent, nothing remains with the viewer. Indeed, it is difficult a day later to conjure up and sufficiently recall images to describe.
Chiara Mastroianni, daughter of Catherine Deneuve and Marcello Mastroianni, was the major draw for many in the audience, and she performed very well the role of a budding actress.
There is no main plot. The two best subplots are the scenes involving the bullfighter, Victor (Julien Lescarret), and those involving the mother and her retarded son whose names dont appear on any programs that Ive seen. Indeed, for me the latter wisp of a story was the best acted and scripted of all that appeared on the screen.
Alas, a good idea but not novel, having been done many times by Robert Altman who always made sure he had a script with a full and interesting storyline.
- Ed Koch