About Water (Uber Wasser)

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Though water represents and embodies the essence of life, either an excess or a deficiency of it can sound equally tragic notes in any given region of the ecosystem. Such is the axiom that lies at the heart of Udo Maurer's documentary About Water; the film finds director Maurer, co-writer Michael Glawogger and their crew journeying to various locales and climates to witness the disastrous effects of flooding and drought on the environment. In the first segment, the team voyages to Bangladesh, the globe's most massive river delta, where persistent flooding threatens to inflict severe casualties (and deaths) on that country's 150,000,000+ population; the filmmakers then move to the polar opposite extreme, Kazakhstan's Aral Sea, for a tour of a "ship graveyard" - once a full and majestic ocean, its vastness now destroyed by the government of V.I. Lenin, which implemented a poorly-designed system of irrigative canals that lost much water and inevitably caused the size of the Aral to shrink. Here, Maurer and Glawogger cross-cut between absurdly jovial Soviet propaganda films and interviews with indigenes, who reflect candidly on how the aggressive, half-cocked pursuit of modernization imploded into an ecological disaster. Finally, in the closing segment, Maurer and co. travel to the Kiberi area of Nairobi, Kenya, for a look at how severe drought has played no small part in the rise of one of the world's most desolate ghettoes. ~ Nathan Southern, Rovi

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