Big River Man Documentary


Big River Man was my favourite documentary at Hot Docs this year. The programmer who introduced the film summed it up perfectly – it is a combination of Borat meets Apocalypse Now. I was on the edge of my seat the entire time.

The subject is Martin Strel, an overweight, alcoholic Slovenian endurance swimmer who decides to swim the Amazon, crocodiles, piranhas and evil fish that can swim up your penis be damned. Already a world record holder for having swum the Mississippi, Danube and Yangtze rivers, he wanted to draw attention to pollution and the rapidly declining rain forest. What starts as a quirky and funny movie about a portly fifty three year old swimmer quickly transcends into something frightening, strange and utterly fascinating. The river plunges him into madness, where he may be swimming from his own demons or becoming one himself.

It is a riveting and odd film. We don’t get a clear idea of what drives this swimming madman, he is remote throughout most of the film and he doesn’t seem to be interested in fame or fortune. It is a thoroughly quirky ride. I hope it gets a wide release because I can’t wait to see it again.

Here is a great read about Martin from The Guardian and it is worth checking out the movie’s website to see the trailer.

One Response to “Big River Man Documentary”

  1. The Sweetie Says:

    This was my second favourite film from this year’s Hot Docs. I would love a copy of that poster!