Dallas International Film Fest Debuts "The River Why"
BY DENNIS KING
Cast around for a narrative movie about fly fishing and you’re sure to hook up with “A River Runs Through It.” But Robert Redford’s angling classic, based on Norman Maclean’s much admired memoir, isn’t the only literary chronicle of the esoteric sport wading onto big screens.
“The River Why,” a fly fishing novel by David James Duncan, might not possess quite the stately mystique of Maclean’s elegiac book, but it has an avid following of its own among sportsman who chase after trout with whippet rods and fur-and-feather lures.
And just as “A River Runs Through It” made a triumphant leap from page to screen with Redford’s lovely, 1992 film, “The River Why” now wends its way to movie theaters with a new cinematic adaptation that will have its premiere at the Dallas International Film Festival in April.
But the movie drawn from Duncan’s wild-and-wooly outdoors novel flowed over many tumultuous twists and turns on its tortured way to the screen.
When it is shown at DIFF at 7:30 p.m., April 14 (Landmark Magnolia Theatre 5), and 7 p.m., April 15 (Dallas Museum of Art Horchow), the movie will have tumbled through a rancorous feud between the author and producers, a protracted court case, a struggle to find financing and a distributor, and humbling comparisons beforehand with Redford’s august classic.
“The River Why,” directed by Matthew Leuwyler, follows the life path of Gus Orviston, a 19-year-old prodigy characterized as “the Mozart of fly fishing.” As he moves to a remote cabin on an Oregon river to live among the fishes and master his craft, “Glum Gus” hooks countless muscular trout, flounders in existential crisis, burns out and stumbles through many streamside misadventures. Eventually, he undergoes a spiritual awakening and finds true love.
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