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American Rivers (Amerikas Flüsse)

Production: rbb/ARTE
Year: 2016
Genre: Documentary series: 5 Episodes
Length: 5 x 45
Format: HD


North America – a continent of daring and drastic extremes, of conquerors and visionaries, of untamed wilderness and feats of human engineering – and its rivers are a fascinating example. The US has the largest dams, the deepest locks, the longest canals and aqueducts in the world. Rivers have been modified and manipulated, forced into man-made paths, controlled by computers, even their flow has been reversed. World famous cities owe their names to these rivers: Miami, Detroit, Los Angeles - yet today they are hardly remembered.

The untamed wilderness of the Colorado River is squeezed to a trickle with the push of one button. The spirited Los Angeles River gushes from the mountains only to be forced into a concrete corset in downtown LA. The Detroit River, still one of the busiest rivers in the world and a witness to the glory times of American industrialization, today sees desolation and the occasional sunflower field in downtown Detroit.  The flow of the picturesque Chicago River was reversed to move polluted waters out of sight. And the multi-cultural Miami River originates where Native Americans still value its resources, and ends where the super-wealthy park their yachts.

Episode 1:
The Chicago River – A River in reverse Gear
(Der Chicago River – Ein Fluss im Rückwärtsgang)
Episode 2:
The Los Angeles River – From Mountain Wilderness to Cement Corset
(Der Los Angeles River – Aus den Bergen ins Betonbett)
Episode 3:
The Colorado River – The strangled Giant
(Der Colorado River – Ein gedrosselter Riese)
Episode 4:
The Detroit River – From the Great Lakes to the Great Bust
(Der Detroit River – von den Grossen Seen zur großen Pleite)
Episode 5:
The Miami River- Crocodiles and Cruise Ships
(Der Miami River – Krokodile und Kreuzfahrtschiffe)


Writer, Director: Katja Esson
Concept: Katja Esson
Line Producer: Sabine Schenk
Director of Photography: Luis Jose Ocejo
Sound/AD: Diego Reiwald
Music: Matthias Falkenau, Cassis