EXPLORERS
1985, Paramount, 109 min, USA, Dir: Joe Dante

Ethan Hawke made his feature film debut playing a 12-year-old boy who dreams of going into outer space; River Phoenix and Jason Presson are the friends who help him get there.


DARK BLOOD
2013, Cinemavault, 86 min, USA, Dir: George Sluizer

Boy (River Phoenix), a young widower with native American roots, lives in a desert in the USA contaminated by nuclear tests. In this desolate place, surrounded by katchina dolls which the indigenous population believes possess magical powers, he awaits the end of the world. His refuge is suddenly invaded by Harry and Buffy (Jonathan Pryce and Judy Davis), a couple second honeymooning in an attempt to save their marriage. When their Bentley breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Boy offers to help. But then, hoping to cross over into a better world with Buffy, he starts treating them like prisoners. When Dark Blood’s leading actor River Phoenix died suddenly ten days before the end of the shoot in 1993, the film’s insurance company became the owner of the unfinished material. Years later, director George Sluizer managed to save his footage from being destroyed. In January 2012 he decided to edit the unfinished film. The resulting work is an existentialist latter-day Western which derives much of its evocative power from the presence of its leading man, who was himself teetering on the brink of death.


RUNNING ON EMPTY
1988, Warner Bros., 116 min, USA, Dir: Sidney Lumet

Judd Hirsch and Christine Lahti are a couple of ex-radicals who have been on the run from the FBI for years; River Phoenix is their son struggling under the weight of his parents' past and expectations. Naomi Foner's subtle, complex script enables director Sidney Lumet to develop one of his favorite themes (explored earlier in DANIEL), that of children forced to pay for their parents' mistakes. One of Roger Ebert’s ten best films of 1988.


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