Synopsis by Josh Ralske
Alfa (Stomy Bugsy) is a mixed-race drug dealer living in Paris. As The River opens, he brutally murders a local crime lord, then beats his henchman with a baseball bat. His older brother, a mysterious and distant figure, tells him cryptically, "Go toward the river." Alfa has to go on the run, reluctantly returning to his homeland, the place of his father's death, Guinea. On the way, he visits his mother, and runs into his beautiful young cousin, Marie (Auriéle Coulibay), who is immediately drawn to him. Disgusted with all things African, he sullenly spurns her advances. Eager to get to know Alfa, Marie steals her father's truck and offers him a ride to his destination in Guinea. As they have their road adventure and draw closer, we see in flashback the gruesome events that drove Alfa to commit murder. Alfa and Marie contend with thugs, thieves, and corrupt officials on their journey, and soon learn that the thug Alfa beat up before he fled Paris is still alive, and is hunting him down. The River was written and directed by Mama Keïta, from a story by his friend, the late David Achkar, a documentary filmmaker (Allah Tantou) who died of leukemia. The film had its North American premiere at the 2003 Tribeca Film Festival.