Watermark (2014)


Critic Consensus: Although their lack of context may bewilder some viewers, the array of beautiful imagery collected within Watermark offers its own rich rewards.


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SYNOPSIS: Watermark is a feature documentary film that brings together diverse stories from around the globe about our relationship with water: how we are drawn to it, what we learn from it, how we use it and the consequences of that use. We see massive floating abalone farms off China's Fujian coast and the construction site of the biggest arch dam in the world - the Xiluodu, six times the size of the Hoover. We visit the barren desert delta where the mighty Colorado River no longer reaches the ocean, and the water-intensive leather tanneries of Dhaka. We witness how humans are drawn to water, from the U.S. Open of Surfing in Huntington Beach to the Kumbh Mela in Allahabad, where thirty million people gather for a sacred bath in the Ganges at the same time. We speak with scientists who drill ice cores two kilometers deep into the Greenland Ice Sheet, and roam the sublime pristine watersheds of Northern British Columbia. Shot in stunning 5K ultra high-definition video and full of soaring aerial perspectives, this film shows water as a terraforming element and the scale of its reach, as well as the magnitude of our need and use. This is balanced by forays into the particular: a haunting memory of a stolen river, a mysterious figure roaming ancient rice terraces, the crucial data hidden in a million. (c) EOne

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Critic Reviews for Watermark

All Critics (32) | Top Critics (13)

They've found a way of serving up these images without seeming callous or exploitative or preachy.

May 1, 2014 | Rating: 3.5/4

Although the visuals are spectacular - a barren Colorado River looks like a landscape from a science-fiction epic - there's not much else here to grab on.

May 1, 2014 | Rating: 2/5 | Full Review…

As in Manufactured Landscapes, the long shots of natural and man-made environments have a patterned, abstract beauty that often chafes against the ugly truth on the ground.

Apr 24, 2014 | Full Review…

It relies heavily on visuals and offers minimal context. The project has a pro-environment feeling, which comes across implicitly, not through browbeating or preaching.

Apr 18, 2014 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

It's the majesty and beauty of water at its most pure that stays with us longest.

Apr 17, 2014 | Full Review…

Here's a case of images in the service of important ideas, rather than entertainment, yet they could hardly be more powerful, from roaring torrents released by a dam in China to a lyrical helicopter shot of a glistening river in British Columbia.

Apr 17, 2014

Audience Reviews for Watermark

A film of images can often be not compelling but this film is striking in its portrayal of man's constant pressure on the watershed. It is an ongoing chronicle of an inevitable disaster.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

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