|Die Frankfurt-Tipp Bewertung:|
|Regie:||Jennifer Baichwal, Edward Burtynsky|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 93 min.|
|FSK:||From 0 years|
Water is life! Water can let plants grow, it is an important source of energy and provides a habitat for many animals. Water is often the stuff dreams are made of - but it can also become a nightmare. Because water also has an enormous destructive power, which storm tides and floods prove again and again impressively. No matter how hard man tries to become master of this element with dikes, river straightening or dams, he will never really succeed in doing so. Jennifer Baichwal and Edward Burtynsky try to show how important water is not only for people, how much the element landscapes shapes and how much the influence of people can affect it in their powerful documentary film "Watermark".
They follow a rather unusual path. They have shot a total of twenty short films on the subject of water in ten countries around the globe, which they have assembled into an impressive but sometimes also very oppressive collage. Las Vegas, the Xiolangdi Dam in China, the Colorado River Delta in Mexico, the Dhaka Tannery in Bangladesh, the upper reaches of Stikine in Canada and Discovery Bay in the USA were among the locations where 199 hours of footage were filmed between 2010 and 2013. From this, the filmmakers filtered out the essence, which in many moments gets by without words. There are also accompanying or explanatory interviews, but primarily the images speak their very powerful language here.
It may not be particularly subtle when images of water masses produced by dams are juxtaposed with those of a dried riverbed. But the pictures are always impressive. The flight over the Colorado River Delta, the somewhat spooky construction site of a dam, the aerial photographs of the fields on the Ogallala Aquifer in Texas or the work in the National Ice Core Laboratory - all this is fascinating and depressing at the same time. Because again and again it becomes clear how valuable and important the element of water is for life on our planet and what damage man causes by his intervention here. Las Vegas is a good example here. The water games, which are shown here, look especially beautiful in the great slow-motion shots. But actually the water used here would be much more urgently needed elsewhere than just for the amusement of tourists.
"Watermark" makes his point very clear. The fact that this is a global issue that affects every human being is also made clear relatively quickly by the images. As a result, some of the later contributions have a somewhat repetitive effect. Of course, it is in some ways effective when footage of the twelve-yearly Kumbh Mela festival in India, where people in Allahabad cleanse themselves of their sins, is juxtaposed with footage from the US Surf Open, or when aerial footage shows the luxurious swimming pools in man-made waterfront residences in California. But the great effect that this very unusual documentary still has at the beginning diminishes noticeably towards the end.
Nevertheless: the great pictures alone, whether aerial shots or slow-motion or time-lapse pictures, make a visit to the cinema worthwhile. Although they can still impress on a smaller screen, they can only unfold their full power on the big screen. A successful testimony about the importance of water for man and vice versa, which can be warmly recommended to lovers of pictorial documentaries. Worth seeing
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