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RIVER USED TO BE A MAN, THE (FLUSS WAR EINST EIN MENSCH, DER)

RIVER USED TO BE A MAN, THE
Scene from THE RIVER USED TO BE A MAN (photo © by Jakub Bejnarowicz)

A young German travels through a country in Africa. He meets an old fisherman near a river, who takes him deep into the wilderness in his wooden boat. The next morning he finds himself alone in the middle of an endless delta. Here his intimate battle with death, his fears and perceptions of the outside world begins. After days of drifting through the wilderness, he arrives in a very isolated village, far away from civilization. But his odyssey is not over yet. His continuous loss of control leads him further into a world far beyond his own comprehension. The young director Jan Zabeil and his actor Alexander Fehling launch themselves into the abyss of being a stranger in a foreign world.


Jan Zabeil was born in 1981 in Berlin. He studied Cinematography at the Film University Babelsberg KONRAD WOLF in Potsdam from 2003-2009. His award-winning films include: L.H.O. (short, 2007), WAS WEISS DER TROPFEN DAVON (short, 2007), and THE RIVER USED TO BE A MAN (2011). His second feature, THREE PEAKS (2017), premieres in Locarno this year.
Genre Drama
Category Feature
Year of Production 2011
Director Jan Zabeil
Screenplay Jan Zabeil, Alexander Fehling
Cinematography Jakub Bejnarowicz
Florian Miosge
Cast Alexander Fehling, Sariqo Sakega, Obusentswe Dreamar Manyima, Babotsa Sax'twee, Dikeledi Manyima
Producers Jan Zabeil, Benny Drechsel, Karsten Stöter
Production Company Rohfilm Productions, in cooperation with SWR
Length 80 min
Format HD, DCP, color, 1:1.85
Original Version
 German
Subtitled Version English
Festivals Munich 2011, Toronto 2011, San Sebastian 2011, Rotterdam 2012, Istanbul 2012, “2-in-1” International Festival of Contemporary Cinema Moscow 2012, Durban 2012, Bratislava 2013
Awards Young German Cinema Award - Best New Producer Munich 2011, New Directors Award San Sebastian 2011, Best Sound "2-in-1" Moscow 2012