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Actor : River's filmography

I Love You To Death Dogfight

My Own Private Idaho

My Own Private Idaho (1991) USA 1991 114 minutes. Directed by Gus Van Sant.

August 23, 2016

I added a separate page about the exhibition and Gus Van Sant's master class, and one summing up the conference. March 2, 2016

For the Gus Van Sant retrospective at the Paris Cinematheque in France from April 13th to July 31, several events may be of interest to River Fans:
- Gus Van Sant master class : April 14, 2016 - 7pm. Tickets can be bought online from March 19, 2016 on the Cinematheque website.
- a conference by Jean-Marc Lalanne about River Phoenix, "the numb angel" - in French. May 5, 2016 - 7pm.
The videos should be available on the Cinematheque website shortly after.
Followed by a screening of :
- My Own Private River, by James Franco : May 5, 9:15pm
More movie screenings :
- Idaho, by James Franco : May 25, 7:30pm - James Franco's edit of MOPI
- My Own Private River, by James Franco : May 25, 7pm
- My Own Private Idaho, by Gus Van Sant : April 16, 7:30pm. May 4, 5pm. May 18, 9:45pm.

October 31, 2015

- The Paris Cinematheque will hold an exhibition about Gus Van Sant in 2016.
After Stanley Kubrick, Tim Burton and Martin Scorsese, the Cinematheque Française (Paris, France) will hold an exhibition about Gus Van Sant from April 20, 2016 to July 31, 2016. Like previous exhibitions, in addition to show the director's movies, it will probably display items relevant to the director's career, master classes, conferences, maybe pictures (since Gus Van Sant is also a photographer). Next is the flyer announcing the event (just the part about the GVS exhibition : the rest is announcing an exhibition about Martin Scorsese). The exhibition is co-curated with the Museo Nazionale del Cinema de Turin, the Elysée Lausanne photography museum, and the Cinematheque Suisse.

- On October 6, 2015, Criterion Film has issued a new release of MOPI, in Blu-Ray, with special features including a video of GVS discussing it with Todd Haynes.
OUT interview of Gus Van Sant about the movie - October 2015.
Hammer To Nail extensive article about the Criterion 2015 release, with details on the bonuses.

- My Own Private Idaho was shown at the Deauville American Film Festival 2015 in France, as part of a special tribute to Keanu Reeves. The other movies included were Dracula, Matrix, John Wick and Man of Tai-Chi. During his thank you speech, Keanu briefly mentioned River as one of the gifted artists he was lucky to work with.

- My Own Private Idaho was shown at the Toronto Internation Film Festival 2013 in Canada, as part of a Keanu Reeves retrospective. Keanu Reeves recorded introductions for each movie, you can watch the one for MOPI here below, where he of course speaks about River Phoenix :
Keanu Reeves introducing My Own Private Idaho.


  • River Phoenix - Mike Waters
  • Keanu Reeves - Scott Favor
  • James Russo - Richard Waters
  • William Richert - Bob Pigeon
  • Rodney Harvey - Gary
  • Chiara Caselli - Carmella
  • Michael Parker (I) - Digger
  • Jessie Thomas - Denise
  • Flea - Budd


Mike Waters, a young male prostitute kid of Portland, Or., leaves on a quest to find his long-lost mother and his past. He suffers from narcolepsy, meaning that he dozes off out of control, at inopportune moments. On his long road, he's helped by Scott Favor, a fellow hustler. Scott happens to be the mayor's son, who turns tricks as an act of rebellion against his father and a too predictable future. Around a campfire, Mike haltingly confesses Scott that he loves him, even though Scott says he can't love men. They travel as far as Italy, where they meet Carmella, that Scott falls in love with. He returns to Portland to marry Carmella and melt in the life his father had chosen for him, leaving Mike alone, on the road still.

For more details, check out the screenplay linked in other resources.


Mike Waters : "I'm a connoisseur of roads. I've been tasting roads my whole life. This road will never end. It probably goes all around the world."


River was named Best Actor at the Venice Film Festival in September 1991 for his role as narcoleptic rent-boy Mike.

The movie received the Critics Award at the Toronto Film Festival in 1991. Since both festivals took place the same week, River had to fly from Toronto to Venice to receive his award and be back to Toronto the day after.

The soundtrack features a song, "Too Many Colors" by River's band, Aleka's Attic.

The play was partly based on William Shakespeare's "Henry IV".


Other resources

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