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The Mighty River (1993)

Le fleuve aux grandes eaux (original title)
The environmental history of the St. Lawrence River and the impact of human exploitation of it.

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(scenario), (adaptation) | 4 more credits »
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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 4 wins. See more awards »
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Paul Hébert ...
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Storyline

This film illustrates the history of the St. Lawrence river. From prehistoric times on, it has been a magnificent source of life. The film covers the impact of humanity beginning with the careful relationship with the Native Americans. This soon changes with the arrival of Europeans who begin the insatiable exploitation that would led to the river's damage, creating a situation that we must resolve for all our sakes. Written by Kenneth Chisholm <kchishol@execulink.com>

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28 September 1994 (France)  »

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The Mighty River  »

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Simply amazing...
3 September 2009 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

This film was brought to us by Frédéric Back, who created CRAC and THE MAN WHO PLANTED TREES--two of the most beautiful and glorious animated films of all time and both Oscar winners. And, in the case of THE MIGHTY RIVER (LE FLEUVE AUX GRANDES EAUX), it also is a masterpiece. However, it lost the Oscar to a Wallace & Gromit film. I couldn't fault the Academy one way or another with this decision, as the two forms of art are so different--how do you compare brilliant stop-motion with adorable characters with an animated film that have tons of depth and is like a moving tapestry? They both were brilliant and it's too bad only one could have won this particular year.

The film I saw was the English language version. I don't know about the French language one, but Donald Sutherland's narration was absolutely perfect. His soft and Canadian-accented voice was perfect in telling this tale of the St. Lawrence River. But, no matter how pretty his voice was, the animation itself was amazing--like paintings coming to life.

The film begins with the beginning of the River. The pristine nature of this seaway is great to watch, as you see schools of fish and mammals cavorting. Then the film goes from the Native American era to the colonial period to today.

The emphasis of this film is on the exploitation of the river and the way that mankind has taken it for granted. I appreciate this message and loved the film as it slowly meandered to a conclusion. The only way I would like to have seen the message changed at all was if the film had some sense of hope for the future. While I do NOT want people to take it for granted, at least in recent years the trend has been more positive--towards cleaning up the river and Great Lakes. While more needs to be done, they are a heck of a lot cleaner and healthier than decades ago--and this makes me feel that there is still lots of hope for the future. But, in a 24 minute film, you can't say it all! Brilliant, beautiful and a true masterpiece of animation.


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