River Phoenix’s final film, “Dark Blood,” will have its North American premiere at the Miami International Film Festival, which is celebrating its 30th year March 1-10. The film was only 80% complete when Phoenix tragically died in 1993 at the age of 23. Director George Sluizer saved the abandoned footage from being burned in an effort to save space in 1999, then moved the film to the Netherlands. It was another decade before Sluizer began finishing the film. “Dark Blood” debuted at the Dutch Film Festival last fall.
MIFF’s exec director Jaie Laplante states that “The tragic loss of River Phoenix’s outstanding talent is still profoundly felt 20 years later. We are proud that George Sluizer has honored Miami as the place to finally share his remarkable collaboration with Phoenix and the other great artists involved with ‘Dark Blood.’”
Read the synopsis below:
Jet-set Hollywood couple Harry (Jonathan Pryce) and Buffy (Judy Davis) travel through the desert on a second honeymoon, trying to save their marriage. Their car breaks down in the middle of nowhere leaving them to find shelter in Boy’s (River Phoenix) beaten down shack, unaware they will become his prisoners. Boy’s wife died of leukemia after nuclear tests occurred in the desert leaving him alone and far away from society. Buffy is seduced by Boy’s honesty and vulnerabilities, while Harry represents everything Boy hates about the civilized world and its culture. Buffy decides to sleep with Boy to buy the couple’s freedom, but these circumstances will push Harry to the edge, leading to a terrible tragedy.
The complete MIFF lineup will be announced later this month.