River (2021) Movie Script

- Ready for a check?
- Cello one.
I'l just call take numbers as we go.
- Okay.
- Violin one, two, two.
I've got lots of images in my head.
So "of" is to be included?
- How're you doing on my juicy S's?
- That's a fairly easy fix.
That's what I thought,
I wanted to hear it to reassure me.
- We're going to go for a take.
- Okay.
Humans have long loved rivers.
But as we have learned
to harness their power,
have we also forgotten to revere them?
When the first rains fell,
the Earth awakened.
It rained without pause
for thousands of years
sculpting new landscapes into being.
Drops gathered as streams,
streams braided into rivers
growing in force as they flowed
ever onwards and downwards.
For eons, running water
obeyed only its own laws.
Patient and persistent,
it wore mountains away.
It looped and meandered
laying down great plains
of lush, rich silt.
Where rivers wandered,
life could flourish.
For rivers are world-makers.
They have shaped the Earth,
and they have shaped us as a species.
For thousands of years
we worshiped rivers,
as the arteries of the planet,
the givers of gifts,
the well-springs of wonder.
Rivers are the source of human dreams,
and they have flowed
through our lives as surely
as they have flowed through places.
High among peaks
flow vast rivers of ice.
Glaciers seem frozen into stasis,
yet they are always in flux.
Their ice has currents,
Crevasses creak open where
they spill down valleys,
or carve round comers.
And through these glaciers,
wind streams of meltwater.
Freed by the sun from its
slow-motion existence as ice,
running water starts to
sing its way to the sea.
To be truly alive, a river must be wild,
wilful and unhindered.
Yearning for the ocean,
its only purpose
is to descend.
For millions of years
humans wandered the earth.
It was rivers that
created fertile valleys;
made it possible for us
to settle and to dwell.
The first cities arose on
the banks of great waterways.
Our early destiny was shaped
by the will of rivers.
We both feared and revered
them as forces of life,
and of death.
We worshiped them as Gods.
Rivers inspired us as a species,
allowing us to thrive.
Over time, they became the
highways by which trade,
and technology spread inland,
and along them also flowed poetry,
stories and religions,
politics and conflict.
Rivers grew our towns and cities
but they were also indifferent
to human plans and dreams.
Fickle and unpredictable,
in flood they could wreak havoc,
and in drought
they could disappear completely.
And so, we devised extraordinary
means of controlling them,
of hamessing their force
and taming their wildness.
We discovered how to
regulate and manage them,
how to run them like machines.
We shifted from seeing
rivers as living beings
to seeing them as resources.
Our gods
had become our subjects.
Qur ability to control rivers
has changed the course of history.
Droughts and floods have been averted,
arid land made fertile.
Rivers have helped make
war and bring peace.
They have shaped empires,
divided nations and nourished humanity.
In many places the river is still revered,
still vital to life,
and to death.
The worship of water is a
given to millions of people.
The river's power remains a sacred power.
It heals, consoles, and purges.
It washes away sin and purifies the dead.
It is a source of hope, love, and longing.
It is the way of life.
To those who live and die by the river,
their river is the river.
Essential for emotional
and spiritual sustenance.
Essential for survival.
We've learned to carry rivers
to places they would never
naturally have flowed.
Rivers stil exert an
immense influence upon us.
A global network of
transport and connection
scarcely remembered in everyday life.
Today, the world's greatest cities
all have a river at their heart.
Rivers have enabled unimaginable
prosperity for some.
For all their might though,
rivers are fragile:
easily harmed, not so easily mended.
Vast waterways have been drained,
and re-directed
to meet our growing needs.
We've made deserts bloom
fostering delusions of infinite abundance.
We've stopped going to the river.
we bring the river to us.
But there's always a downstream cost,
somebody somewhere must have less.
The amount of water in the hydrosphere
hasn't changed since the first rains fell,
but the number of people on
earth has grown exponentially,
and every one of us is
utterly dependent on water.
The sheer scale of the human project
has begun to overwhelm the world's rivers.
Today, there is scarcely
a river unspanned,
undammed, or undiverted.
The grandest dams have
impounded so much water,
that they've slowed the
rotation of the earth.
Dams make miracles possible.
They conjure clean power
from little more than water and gravity.
They slake the thirst of millions.
They hold back floods
but at such cost.
Trapped and static, a
dammed river stagnates.
Its sediment settles
to the reservoir floor.
Dams achieve
what should be impossible:
they drown rivers.
Once discharged, stripped of its sediment,
dammed water brings more
damage than life.
Floodplains and deltas are
no longer nourished by silt.
The cycle of replenishment
we depend on is broken.
The power-grids not the seasons
determine the rivers' flow.
And the energy that dams generate
often fails to reach those
who need it most.
We have riddled our rivers with poisons
in the name of progress.
Each year blooms of toxic algae
blight more rivers and lakes,
leaving their water
unswimmable, undrinkable
even fatal.
Instead of life-giving
sediment and nutrients,
rivers now carry millions
of tons of plastic waste
to the sea each year.
As ever, the poorest suffer most.
One country's affluence
is another's affliction.
Many rivers now fight for survival.
They gasp for water,
gather behind dams
are channelled through
cities stripped of life.
The mystery and beauty
of a wild river
is beyond our ability to comprehend
but within our capacity to destroy.
Rivers that have flowed for eons
have been cut off in decades.
Time and again,
upstream need and upstream greed
have led to downstream disaster.
We have become Titans,
capable of shaping our world
in ways that will endure for
millions of years to come.
For time flows too,
and we stand upstream
of a precarious future.
The lives of our rivers now
will determine the destinies
of generations to come.
We will be remembered for
all that we have depleted,
vanished and killed.
We must ask ourselves,
"Are we being good ancestors?"
Rivers live in deep time,
tumbling through millennia.
They give us so much more than water.
They course through our imaginations,
renew our spirits.
With quiet determination,
they overcome the hardest
and strongest things.
They run into the future,
and they remember the past,
painting their way across landscapes.
At last, the river vanishes into the sea.
Its spirit is never lost forever though,
its death in the ocean
begins its reincamation.
Water cannot be created or destroyed,
it merely changes state,
in an endless cycle of renewal
driven by the great engine of the Sun.
For the atmosphere is alive
with moving water too,
the sky has rivers.
Vast Amazons and Niles
of vapour flow from sea
back to source.
Together these sky-rivers hold more water
than all the streams and
rivers on Earth combined.
Many cultures have never forgotten
what it means to think like a river,
or how to listen to rivers.
They know that the fate of rivers,
and the fate of humans are inextricable.
It's easy to forget
that there are places
and forces which don't respond
fo the flick of a switch,
or the twist of a dial.
Which have their own rhythms
and orders of existence.
Wild rivers correct this amnesia.
Rivers are vulnerable to our harm,
but they also possess
miraculous powers of recovery.
Given a chance their life pours back.
After years imprisoned behind concrete,
their sediment is freed
10 carry on downriver,
and nourish the land again.
To think like a river
means to dream downstream in time,
to imagine what will
flow far into the future
from our actions in the present,
to be good ancestors to
those who will come after us,
downstream of us.
Look after the river,
and the river will look after you.
We share our fate with rivers,
we flow together.