Where the Rivers Flow North

Institute History

  • 1994 Sundance Film Festival


Jay Craven's Where the Rivers Flow North is a beautiful example of the special contribution of regional filmmaking. Shot on a relatively low budget compared to industry standards (the film was financed through a collective of Vermont and New Hampshire investors), it tells the story of Noel Lord (Rip Torn), a crusty and indomitable, but now aging, log driver whose way of life is threatened by “progress’” Lord and his companion/housekeeper, Bangor, played by Tantoo Cardinal in an absolutely sterling performance, are both faced with the inexorable corporate power of the early twentieth century when they learn that the construction of the region's first big hydroelectric dam will flood their land and drive them out.

Lord staunchly refuses to move, rejecting any offer the company makes. Bangor alternately berates and pleads, but Lord is stubbornly recalcitrant. When faced with eviction, he seems to relent if the company will allow him to maintain his home under a last stand of virgin pines. In fact, Lord concocts a scheme so he can move to Oregon and purchase a sawmill. Despite the risk that the couple will lose everything, they pursue It.

Powerful and unconventional, this is a remarkable portrait of another time and place. Apart from fine direction and writing, the unique relationship between Torn and Cardinal make the film memorable, a real testimony to the strength of Indian women.

Saturday Jan 22 8:00 pm
Sundance Screening Room

Monday Jan 24 1:20 pm
Holiday Village Cinema II

Tuesday Jan 25 4:40 pm
Holiday Village Cinema III

Saturday Jan 29 6:30 pm
Park City Library Center


— Geoffrey Gilmore

Screening Details

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