The Same River Twice

Director: Robb Moss

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


Using footage from a film shot 24 years ago and a series of contemporary interviews with the same people, filmmaker Robb Moss creates a beguiling and elucidating work that is both personal and generational. Having spent his college years at Berkeley "resisting the cultural and political momentum of a middle-class upbringing," he constructs a self-described "temporal mosaic" that examines the present-day lives of five of the characters from his original film. Riverdogs, about a community of river rafters/whitewater guides, was shot in the fall of 1978 and was a portrait of a group attempting to form a utopian collective. One of the riveting features of the film was that the characters were usually naked as they moved down the river. In this contemporary update, they discuss their nakedness and put themselves on further display as they talk about where their lives have taken them.

Moss's cinematic time line is drawn with the kind of candidness and honesty that only intimate knowledge allows. This is "direct cinema" that transports you back in time as it showcases a generation that took its value-changing youth seriously. Despite growing up and having to adjust to societal norms, they are clearly still "under the influence" of a river that flows through their lives.

— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details


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