“Thousands have lived without love. Not one without water.” WH Auden’s quote is the first thing we see when River starts, superimposed on footage of a pristine and beautiful snaking river at sunset.

The 70-minute film has been shown in cinemas and, in Australia, on the ABC but this documentary was made to be seen in tandem with a live concert by the Australian Chamber Orchestra, and audiences have long been anticipating this one-off premiere.


River, Australian Chamber Orchestra

Directed by Australian film-maker Jennifer Peedom, who collaborated with the ACO on the highly acclaimed Mountain project, and narrated by Hollywood actor Willem Dafoe, River shows us the vital role these waterways have played in the life of our planet and the development of human civilisation.

Using drone footage, it is a spectacular, beautiful, illuminating and, at times, horrifying appraisal of what we were, are and have become.

Scripted by English writer and conservation campaigner Robert Macfarlane, who worked with Peedom and the ACO on Mountain, it is ultimately a cautionary tale about how we must act to reverse the damage we have caused.

“The sheer scale of the human project has begun to...