A River Changes Course
A River Changes Course, shot in Cambodia, is a documentary following the lives of three young Cambodians over a period of several years. Each main subject lives in a distinctly different part of the country, one in a small village outside the capital, another in the mountainous jungle, and the last near the great Tonle Sap River. Three major travesties are occurring in Cambodia, and each of the young adults followed exemplifies one of those hardships: overfishing, deforestation, and overwhelming debt.
The focus of A River Changes Course is not on statistics and figures but rather on the lives of the three central subjects. The film emphasizes the issues but not the political ramifications of these tragedies. It is beautifully shot and shows a country with great landscapes. The lighting is completely natural, and the music uses traditional Cambodian instruments in more modern ways.
The film is well shot and still manages to portray a message without being preachy. The end sums it up best; it's an interview with one of the main subjects when he's a young teenager, and he talks about his dreams of one day going to school and purchasing land for his parents. It cuts back to him at 18, and he ruminates how he'll never be able to be anything other than be a fisherman or a plantation worker for the Chinese since he is unable to break the cycle due to his lack of resources. The film carries great impact without being overly pushy, which is a fine line to dance when it comes to a documentary.