Movie Review: Flow
Adam Hong wrote this review 5 years and 4 months ago
Within the first few minutes, over tranquil juxtaposition of sounds and images of flowing water, FLOW, For Love Of Water, a documentary directed by Irena Salina, introduces a panel of activists, politicians, and scientists, who state astounding facts about water resource and its effects on us locally and globally. We’ll learn that over 2 millions dies each year from drinking water; about 500,000 to 7 millions people get sick from water system every year in the US alone; we’re running out of fresh water; and the simple act taking a shower could make us really sick. The filmmaker goes on and draws us in a vicious circle, with animation, of how human consumes contaminated water — which interacts with thousands of manmade chemicals already in our bodies — then releases it into sewage system that connects to rivers and streams, of which the water is pumped back in the public water system for human’s consumption. At this point Ms. Salina’s point is clear: how do we break the cycle?
The documentary then takes us on a journey around the globe. We witness a river in Bolivia turns blood red, literally, a result of a slaughterhouse dumping bloods and unwanted animal parts into a local river. People in a small village in India are forced to use toxic water from the river since they can’t afford clean water provided by a private company. Millions of farmers are relocated and living in poverty due to privatizations and constructions of dams in China and South Africa. Back home in the US, Nestlé, one of the largest food and nutrition companies in the world, pumps over half a million gallon of water a day out of springs that feed lakes and streams of Mecosta County and the surrounding areas in central Michigan, and bottles the water and sale it around the world. Suddenly we’re in the middle of the fight between corporations and people, the rich and the poor. The film certainly casts a negative light on big companies like Vivendi and Suez. These companies, however, are proud of their technologies and achievements, and believe they could change the world by privatizations. At one point, an activist from India asks, “Do they own the sun too?”Ultimately, FLOW raises more questions than gives answers. Though Ms. Salina has created an eye-opening documentary, she’s lost focus on her subject. Is it about water and what we could do to conserve it? Or is it about greed and justice? It starts out with a profound quote from W. H. Auden — Thousands have lived without love. Not one without water — and in the end it advocates for the right to access to clean water for all. But how do we have access to water if there is none? We either let it flow or watch it evaporate if we don’t change our way.