658. The Mighty River – Frederic Back

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SUMMARY: An animated history of the North American St. Lawrence River which connects the Great Lakes with the Atlantic Ocean.

WHY IT’S HERE: With ‘Crac!’ and ‘The Man Who Planted Trees’, Frederic Back had already established himself as one of the greatest animators of all time and won two Oscars in the process. ‘The Mighty River’ saw him nominated for a third. The activist filmmaker, whose ‘The Man Who Planted Trees’ had led to the planting of millions of trees, continued his environmental mission with ‘The Mighty River’, an animated documentary which features a wealth of information on the St. Lawrence River which Back hoped would help save this natural resource of clean water. The St. Lawrence River once teemed with animal and plant life but fell victim to over-exploitation and industrial pollution. Back evokes the glory days of the river through breathtaking animation while, in the English language version, the narration is entrusted to the velvet tones of Donald Sutherland who more than does it justice. An astonishing piece of work, ‘The Mighty River’ would surely have bagged Back his third Oscar had it not come up against Nick Park’s ‘The Wrong Trousers’ but awards were clearly less important than getting the message out there, something that Back certainly did with this astonishing film.

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