The Same River Twice

When 6th-century Greek philosopher Heraclitus observed that you can't step in the same river twice, it wasn't the Colorado River he had in mind. But the Colorado looms large in Robb Moss's poignant documentary about a group of friends who took a month-long river trip in 1978, and what became of them 20 years later. Moss, Danny Silver and her "summer boyfriend,"...read more

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When 6th-century Greek philosopher Heraclitus observed that you can't step in the same river twice, it wasn't the Colorado River he had in mind. But the Colorado looms large in Robb Moss's poignant documentary about a group of friends who took a month-long river trip in 1978, and what became of them 20 years later. Moss, Danny Silver and her "summer boyfriend," Jim Tickenor, Barry Wasserman, and blissful couple Cathy Shaw and Jeff Golden joined several others, all professional summer river guides, on the trip. They rafted, ate, hiked, camped, climbed rocks and hung out, usually nude and always on a casual, "where the day takes you" schedule. Aspiring filmmaker Moss documented what turned out to be his last river trip, and two decades later persuaded his old friends to go before the cameras again and reflect on that summer and their subsequent lives. Only Jim, the group's "river deity," still embraces hippie ideals, living in a rundown camper in Coloma, Calif., while slowly building an environmentally low-impact cabin. With the exception of a six-month stint studying dentistry, the wiry, unkempt Jim has been a river guide continuously since 1972. His former girlfriend, Danny, married, quit a job in genetics counseling for something she loves — teaching dance and aerobics — had her first child at age 41 and wonders what to tell her kids about her youthful experimentation with drugs. Cathy and Jeff married and divorced; Cathy, mayor of Ashland, Ore., clearly still regrets their break up, though she's since remarried. She abandoned a high-pressure fundraising job in search of less draining work, while Jeff admits he was always too busy becoming "a player" (he juggles a raft of projects, including hosting a radio call-in show) to devote himself to family. Sarcastic Barry is married, the mayor of Placerville, Calif. (he loses a bid for reelection during the course of the film) and a psychiatric-facility administrator whose co-workers were shocked when he came to work one weekend in shorts. What would they think of the naked, bearded free spirit he once was? Barry is also battling cancer, and his ruminations sum up the film's gently rueful tone: He doesn't envy people in their 20s, he says, because "it's their turn to be young. If they're lucky, they'll have a turn to be middle-aged, and I'll have a turn to be old. But we all just get one turn at each."

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  • Released: 2003
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: When 6th-century Greek philosopher Heraclitus observed that you can't step in the same river twice, it wasn't the Colorado River he had in mind. But the Colorado looms large in Robb Moss's poignant documentary about a group of friends who took a month-long… (more)

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