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River Phoenix’s final film to open at the Miami International Film Festival

River Phoenix’s final film to open at the Miami International Film Festival
Hugh Humphreys

Organizers of the 30th edition of Miami International Film Festival (MIFF), produced and presented by Miami Dade College, announced today the North American premiere of River Phoenix’s final film, “Dark Blood” directed by George Sluizer, co-starring Jonathan Pryce and Judy Davis. 20 years after its making, the film will be shown for the first time in North America at the 30th Anniversary edition of the Miami International Film Festival (March 1-10, 2013).

“Dark Blood” was 80% complete when River Phoenix passed away in 1993 and the uncompleted film disappeared into a vault. In 1999 Sluizer heard that the footage was going to be burned to make space and with less than 48 hours notice, he saved the film, engineering efforts to get the entire film moved to The Netherlands. The footage then sat for more than ten years until last year when Sluizer set about finishing the film. The film finally premiered overseas to a standing ovation in the fall of 2012 at the Dutch Film Festival.

“Dark Blood is a film of legend, one of Hollywood’s great mysteries,” said MIFF Executive Director Jaie Laplante. “The tragic loss of River Phoenix’s outstanding talent is still profoundly felt 20 years later. We are proud that George Sluizer has honored Miami as the place to finally share his remarkable collaboration with Phoenix and the other great artists involved with Dark Blood.”

Jet-set Hollywood couple Harry (Jonathan Pryce) and Buffy (Judy Davis) travel through the desert on a second honeymoon, trying to save their marriage. Their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere leaving them to find shelter in Boy’s (River Phoenix) beaten down shack, unaware they will become his prisoners. Boy’s wife died of leukemia after nuclear tests occurred in the desert leaving him alone and far away from society. Buffy is seduced by Boy’s honesty and vulnerabilities, while Harry represents everything Boy hates about the civilized world and its culture. Buffy decides to sleep with Boy to buy the couple’s freedom, but these circumstances will push Harry to the edge, leading to a terrible tragedy.

The complete line-up of the 30th Miami International Film Festival will be announced in late January. “Dark Blood” joins previously announced titles for the Festival including the US premieres of Fernando Trueba’s “The Artist and the Model” and Carlos Lechuga’s “Molasses”.

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Movie News
Hugh Humphreys

Moviehole's Sydney based news editor and interviewer. Works for the Austereo network.

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