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Joaquin Phoenix, Leaf Phoenix

Los Angeles



The Mosquito Coast

Running on Empty

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

My Own Private Idaho

Ethan Hawke

Mike Waters

Gus Van Sant

Martha Plimpton

Sidney Lumet

Vegan, Vegetarian, Vegetarianism

Johnny Depp

Emily Lloyd

Cinema Year by Year

Chronicle of the Cinema
Rio's Attic: Celebrating the Life and Times of a Dearly Missed River Phoenix
American EnglishEn Français

Cinema Year by Year

First published in 1995

ISBN 0-7513-4969-0 (Hardback, 995 Pages)

Originally published under the title of Chronicle of the Cinema and gorgeously illustrated with thousands of screen-shots, film posters and star portraits, this book is positively overflowing with facts and figures from the earliest, embryonic days of the film industry right through to the present day.

As one might expect, River features many times towards the end of the book. Getting off to something of a false start though, the book mistakenly records River's birth as taking place in 1971. In fact, it makes the same mistake with all three entrants in that particular section listing incorrect dates of birth for River's co-star in Explorers, Ethan Hawke and actress Emily Lloyd.

Moving forward seventeen years, or some one-hundred-and-eighty pages, one finds that start of numerous references to River. Beginning with a Running on Empty promotional shot of River and Martha Plimpton, and briefly mentioning River's roles in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and The Mosquito Coast, the book then features a photograph from My Own Private Idaho and discusses the Best Actor award River received at the 48th Venice Film Festival in 1991 as well as the award given to him by the National Society of Film Critics for the same performance.

Of note is the design layout the authors use throughout the book given that they have, somewhat unusually, chosen to present their work in a tabloid-style format complete with shock banner-headlines. This accounts for the writing style of one particular passage to be found in the lengthy chapter that documents 1993. The previously mentioned incorrect date of birth would account for one of the errors in the following passage.

Sudden and terrible death of River Phoenix
Los Angeles, 1 November

River Phoenix died yesterday after collapsing on the sidewalk outside of the West Hollywood nightclub owned by his friend Johnny Depp. He had been drinking heavily while on drugs. His brother Leaf, who was with him, called an ambulance, but it was too late. What shocked and surprised fans most was that the actor was known to be a vegetarian teetotaller. Although he was only 22, he seemed much younger, as if he were strongly resisting the coming of manhood. He had little of the show business ambition of his contemporaries. This might have had something to do with his unconventional upbringing, which his curious name reflected. He was born in a log cabin in Oregon, the son of nature-and-peace-loving hippie parents. His two best performances reflected his early peripatetic existence: in Sidney Lumet's Running on Empty and Gus Van Sant's My Own Private Idaho. In the latter, there was a gravity and fragility in his role as a gay hustler that made audiences feel protective of him. River Phoenix will be remembered as an actor of looks and talent who endured the rites of passage without being able to enjoy the rewards that seemed certain.

The "article" is accompanied by a common photograph of Mike Waters. The caption underneath it reads simply: "River Phoenix: a tragic end."

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