River Phoenix made a "surprise visit" at the 2013 Berlin International Film Festival. On Thursday, February 14, audience were treated to a very rare screening of the late actor's last film "Dark Blood", which was directed by George Sluizer and shot in 1993.
The filming of "Dark Blood" was never completed due to River's untimely death in October 1993. In the following month, the movie eventually was abandoned. However, in 2012, during the Netherlands Film Festival, the pic got a private screening with the missing scenes being replaced with George's narration.
As for the Berlinale showing, George said it might be the last screening for the movie and the pic might never go out for public release. At the German festival, the Jim Barton-written feature was screened out of competition lineup.
To reporters, George said that negotiations for a general release are still taking place with the company that owns the right of "Dark Blood". He explained, "They are very tough. They are billionaires, money market people apparently, who by mistake have in their stock of hospitals and hotels a film. They don't care about movies and they don't care about culture, they care about money."
On the other hand, River's co-star Jonathan Pryce gushed that he was glad to be given a chance to work with River. "At no time did I experience him using or abusing drugs in any way, shape or form," Jonathan said, as quoted by The Associated Press. "An old head on young shoulders."
In "Dark Blood", Phoenix starred as Boy, a young widower who retreats to the desert after his wife dies of radiation following nuclear tests near their home. Cinematographer Edward Lachman revealed that there's a scene that showed River walking toward the camera "like a ghost" and the scene inexplicably went missing. "There were many things around this film that were very extraordinary," he said.
River, the older brother of Joaquin Phoenix, Rain Phoenix, Summer Phoenix and Liberty Phoenix, died in Los Angeles after suffering a heart failure due to heroin and cocaine overdose. He was 23. Throughout his career, he scored 24 appearances in films and television.