THE RIVERBED (1986) [Feature]

USA (MIFF 1987 )
Director: Rachel Reichman

Rachel Reichman's first feature is a Depression-era fable, shot in black and white and cast with a metallic blue tint that lends it a coldly ethereal quality.

The Riverbed traces the story of a despondent drifter who stumbles across a farmhouse inhabited by a wealthy widow and her disabled daughter. Exchanging board for labour, he stays at the house. Eventually he consents to the mother's wish that he marry the girl, with his eye on financial gain. He takes the girl to the city, where the couple struggles against hardship. As the man reverts to petty theft, her health deteriorates and he is forced to take her back to the now-abandoned farmhouse.

Stylised and hypnotic, the film is interwoven with the girl's fantasies of soft, clear water surrounding her. Dialogue is used sparingly and the folk music soundtrack provides an important component of the fable's intriguing atmosphere.

Select Festival

Search the film archive