River Phoenix’s Last Movie: Rare Showing At Berlin Film Festival
River Phoenix’s Last Movie, Dark Blood, received a rare screening at the Berlin film festival on Thursday; however, according to the director, it’s possible that the film may never make a general release.
After having been mothballed in 1993 following River Phoenix’s death, director George Sluizer finished the film Dark Blood last year. River Phoenix died October 31, 1993 from an overdose of cocaine and heroin.
First screened at a Netherlands film festival last year, the film is quickly running out of competition at the 63rd Berlinale.
Its current director, Sluizer, said that negations with the current film owner are ongoing and are pushing toward a general release of River Phoenix’s last movie.
Sluizer told the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
“They are very tough… They are billionaires, money market people apparently, who by mistake have in their stock of hospitals and hotels a film. They don’t care about movies and they don’t care about culture, they care about money.”
Jonathan Pryce, a Welsh actor that stars in the film, discussed Phoenix’s death, “At no time did I experience him using or abusing drugs in any way, shape or form.” He further said that Phoenix always seemed committed to his work adding that he was “an old head on young shoulders.”
Phoenix was only 23 when he died from heart failure after the overdose. He leaves behind his brother, Joaquin, and sisters, Rain and Summer Phoenix.
According to American cinematographer Edward Lachman, footage recorded on the Dark Blood set which showed Phoenix walking toward the camera “like a ghost” has mysteriously gone missing.
“There were many things around this film that were very extraordinary,” Lachman said.
Among many others, Phoenix is well known for his performance in the 1986 film “Stand by Me” in which he plays Chris Chambers, a young boy afflicted with an abusive home life that is influenced to do good and dies toward the end of the movie while attempting to break up a fight.
Dark Blood, River Phoenix’s last movie, received high reviews at the 63rd Berlinale.