The Same River Twice

Robb Moss. | 78 minutes. Next Life Films.

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A real-life Big Chill, this rich documentary juxtaposes two sets of footage that director Robb Moss shot of his five closest friends. The film begins with grainy 1970s images of the hippie pals enjoying a monthlong rafting trip down the Colorado — all in their birthday suits. It then skips ahead a quarter of a century, as Moss’ camera finds the former free spirits on the same river — now fully clothed — dealing ambivalently with kids, careers, and mortgages.

Though the film captures the clash between conviction and convenience, Moss’ friends are hardly the Motown-fetishizing sellouts of The Big Chill. Two have been mayors, one is a talk-show host, another an aerobics instructor, and one, the hippie holdout, has remained a river guide all these years. As for Moss, when he’s not exploring what has survived of the counterculture, he teaches filmmaking at Harvard.

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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