FILM NOTES | 20 years later, Miami fest screens River Phoenix’s final film “Dark Blood”

MIAMI |  The final film of the late River Phoenix is making its North American premiere at the Miami International Film Festival.  It will be screened 7 p.m. on March 6, 2013 at the Gusman Center for the Performing Arts.

On that same night, the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands is hosting a cocktail reception from 6:00 to 7 p.m.. The reception is to honor the Dutch director George Sluizer, who will be present. Space is limited, and based on a first come, first served basis.

Perhaps the only thing more surprising than the film’s tumultuous two-decade journey to completion is the fact that Dutch director George Sluizer, now 80, was able to finish it at all.

Dark Blood began production in 1993. It survived not only the loss of its leading actor, who died of an accidental drug overdose at age 23 outside a West Hollywood nightclub, but also the near-destruction of the original footage and a life-threatening ailment that struck its director.

The film hasn’t come out completely unscathed — Sluizer had to restructure the story and add narration to account for missing scenes — and the precise ownership status of the original footage remains murky. But Sluizer has succeeded in giving Dark Blood form.

Dark Blood is a film of legend, one of Hollywood’s great mysteries,” said Miami International Film Festival Executive Director Jaie Laplante in a prepaed statement. “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.”

Here is an excerpt from the film:

To RSVP, simply send us an email, at mia-rsvp@minbuza.nl after buying your ticket online; provide your name & number that is visible on your ticket bar code, so they can add your name to the cocktail reception guest list. A confirmation will be send to you.

Telegraph film critic Tim Robey, who attended the screening, commented: “George Sluizer deserves a lot of respect for putting this film back out there in its mangled form, given Phoenix’s death.” When River Phoenix died in 1993 at the age of 23 it was a tragedy-the life of one of Hollywood’s most amazing and beautiful young talents cut short. But as heartbreaking as the all too short life is, his legacy will be revived this year at the Miami International Film Festival when director George Sluizer debuts Phoenix’s the final film.  – randy gener

River Phoenix

River Phoenix

 

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