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average rating is 4 out of 5


Jason Knight


Posted on:

Sep 12, 2023

Film Reviews
Directed by:
Matthew Somerville
Written by:
Mira Furlan, Matthew Somerville, Dan McCrum
Janez Komel, Katrina Kesherovic, Emir Albi, Visnja Janosevic

A documentary about the Sava river and people who are affected by it.


The Sava river is 990 kilometres-long and it is located in Southeast and Central Europe. It flows from West to East, moving through Slovenia, Croatia, along its border with Bosnia and Herzegovia, until it reaches Serbia. This feature-length documentary is a journey that begins from Zelenci in Slovenia, and goes all the way to Serbia, making stops along the way in order to meet certain individuals whose lives have experiences related to the long river. It is also separated into chapters, each of which is announced by the location and the number of kilometres that have been covered so far out of 990.


The film crew is never shown, instead the viewers get breathtaking aerial shots of the river and its surroundings that include wonderful landscapes, towns, plenty of boats and harbours, all of which look fantastic thanks to Dan McCrum's cinematography. In addition to this, they will also be introduced to a number of citizens of the countries mentioned above and hear stories about their lives and the Sava river.


The feature has an interesting structure that alternates between the interviewees and the river. For instance, a particular person (or persons) are being interviewed in Slovenia and then the documentary goes to a sequence where there is just the river, before moving to Croatia to meet the next person and then going back to the river and so on. By utilising this clever technique, the filmmakers take the audience on a journey via the river, travelling with it and encountering the places and people that it passes through. These people include an engineer, two boat operators, drag artists, street artists and an elderly couple. Although these individuals are quite different from each other, they are connected by the river, that is part of their lives.


The sequences with the river are accompanied by Mira Furlan's voice-over, which works as the river's thoughts. Her words attempt to communicate what the river would be feeling if it was alive and embarking on a neverending journey full of experiences.


This documentary acknowledges the beauty of the Sava river, however it offers more than that. It provides an insight into life in the countries the river travels through and explores social issues and national identity while encountering a few people and learning about their lives. Generally, this is a beautiful, informative and thoughtful experience that is wonderfully shot and is supported by lovely music.

About the Film Critic
Jason Knight
Jason Knight
Indie Feature Film, Documentary, World Cinema
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