Arthur News School of Fish
Still from 'The River' directed by Benjamin Hargreaves.

ReFrame Review: The River

Written by
Liam Parker
and
January 18, 2021

The River

(Canada, 15 min.)

Dir. Benjamin Hargreaves

ReFrame Review: The River
Still from 'The River' directed by Benjamin Hargreaves.

It is easy to forget, in our consumerist culture, that art is a medium that can be practiced, enjoyed, and experienced across social classes and divisions. Throughout our lifetimes, we are exposed to fast fashion, dime-store paintings, sequels and reboots, and pretentious people arguing over which multi-million dollar work of art is worth the most; we lose sight of the fact that anyone is capable of creating beautiful works of art that speak to both the world and the soul. In a beautiful fifteen minute short, Benjamin Hargreaves succeeds in painting a picture of the world of low-income art creation in Peterborough, and how one publication, The River Magazine, works tirelessly to provide contributors an outlet for creative expression and beauty.

The film mostly follows the life of Faelan Dobbin, a local multidisciplinary creator, and Faelan’s experiences struggling with mental illness, disability, and an unforgiving world. Faelan, along with a host of interesting figures, explores what it really means to be low income in Peterborough, and how the greatest steps to recovery in our small town include eliminating the stigma associated with low income residents. 

What is the most beautiful component of The River is the refreshing perspective it displays on Peterborough life. Despite living in this city for the majority of my short life, I was graced with a vision of community and support that I was previously blind to. The familiar and comforting backdrops of locales such as Dreams of Beans cafe, Black Honey, and the rest of the downtown core help to remind the residents of Peterborough that watch this documentary that this small town is bursting with creative energy. The short fifteen minutes are an inspiring glance into the true, unfettered beauty that can arise from trying times. Commendations for Hargreaves are in order, as his nuanced cinematography and skillful editing paint a picture of a brand new perspective on a city that I thought I knew.

Don’t miss The River at the ReFrame Film Festival, right from the comfort of your own couch! Streaming January 22-29, 2021. Details and tickets are available on their website.  


Liam Parker is an intern at ReFrame Film Festival.

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