Screened as part of NZIFF 2021

River 2021

Directed by Jennifer Peedom

Let this exultant ode to the life-sustaining waterways that criss-cross our planet wash over you, captured in jaw-dropping imagery by Mountain director Jennifer Peedom.

76 minutes DCP




Willem Dafoe


Joseph Nizeti


Jennifer Peedom
Jo-anne McGowan
John Smithson


Jennifer Peedom
Joseph Nizeti
Robert Mcfarlane


Yann Arthus-Bertrand
Sherpas Cinema
Ben Knight
Peter McBride
Renan Ozturk


Simon Njoo


Richard Tognetti


Telluride 2021


“As we have learned to harness their power, have we also forgotten to revere them?” So asks Willem Dafoe in majestic tone-poem River, the latest documentary effort from Jennifer Peedom following her triumphant Sherpa (NZIFF 2015) and Mountain (NZIFF 2017). The subject: the waterways from which life sprang, but which are often an afterthought to the mighty oceans that they flow into.

In River, the ethereal and astonishing beauty of rivers all over the world is evoked through rapturous lensing, swooping and gliding down rushing waterfalls, descending into the depths alongside schools of fish, witnessing from above the uncanny patterns the waterways carve through the landscape. It is a reaffirmation of the beauty of the river, and an urgent call to protect them and to view them once again as the forces of nature that they are, not the commodities they have since become.

Guided by warm, gravelly narration from Dafoe and a heart-swelling score from the Australian Symphony Orchestra, the scale of River is enormous, a visual feast that demands the biggest screen possible. A jaw-dropping salute to the essential beauty of nature, River invites you to sit back and sink into the flow of rapturous images, letting them wash you away and come to the surface refreshed. — Tom Augustine

River is a mesmerizing call to arms... Utilizing gorgeous footage of these rivers to their maximum effect, River will make you rethink your relationship to the natural world while also never being overbearing. Like its namesake, River changes you consistently, gradually, and permanently.” — Matt Goldberg, Collider