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Directed by Emir Baigazin

Kazakhstan, Poland, Norway 2018 108 mins. In Kazakh, Russian with subtitles

Five Kazakh brothers, ages five to 16, live with their parents on an extremely spare, dusty steppe in a house befitting their simple environment. Their father speaks in clipped sentences and harsh tones while driving the boys’ daily labor; their mother is largely confined to the home in this strongly patriarchal society. One day, the eldest boy, Aslan (Zhalgas Klanov) discovers a nearby river, and takes his brothers swimming. Then, their city-dwelling, technology-wielding cousin unexpectedly appears. These twin lures threaten to, perhaps irreversibly, disrupt the solitude of the homestead. The multitalented Baigazin, who wrote, produced, directed, shot, and edited The River, uses emotional and formal precision to his great advantage in this breakout film, which “might be said to exist on a continuum between Claire Denis’ masterwork Beau travail and Samira Makhmalbaf’s still-underseen The Apple. Baigazin…is a filmmaker of sensitivity and restraint.” —Michael Sicinski, Cinema Scope.

Filmography: Harmony Lessons (2013), Wounded Angel (2016)



The Northwest Film Center recognizes and honors the Indigenous peoples of this region on whose ancestral lands the museum now stands. These include the Willamette Tumwater, Clackamas, Kathlemet, Molalla, Multnomah and Watlala Chinook Peoples and the Tualatin Kalapuya who today are part of the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, and many other Native communities who made their homes along the Columbia River. We also want to recognize that Portland today is a community of many diverse Native peoples who continue to live and work here. We respectfully acknowledge and honor all Indigenous communities—past, present, future—and are grateful for their ongoing and vibrant presence.