The inconvenient truth at the center of Flow: For Love of Water is that while the oil crisis is intensely debated and documented, disasters involving an even more essential fluid go perilously unnoticed. In Irena Salina’s impassioned wakeup call, water is vanishing at alarming rates, and what’s left of it is being soiled, bottled and trafficked by conglomerate buccaneers at the cost of human lives. The commoditization of the elements is the main target of the film’s outrage, and Salina provides an international tour of aquatic terrors—a Bolivian river contaminated by slaughterhouse residue, Indian children dying due to pesticides in sacred waters—before bringing the issue home to Michigan. The presiding metaphor here is that of a body’s faulty circulatory system, though the picture’s sharp emphasis on the sins of big businesses (giants such as Suez, Vivendi, Thames Water and Nestlé‘s Poland Spring are called out for their “water development” tactics) shows how the eponymous flow refers just as much to the damaging surges of a mendacious economic system. Salina uses graphics and interviews with experts and activists, and though she tries to lighten things up with movie clips and bizarre tidbits (including fish changing gender due to dumped chemicals), the portrait that ultimately emerges is as upsetting as it should be. Flow lacks the curiosity and rigor of great documentaries, but it nevertheless remains vital as an alert vision of corporate greed streaming into global imbalance.
- Oscilloscope Laboratories
- 93 min
- Irena Salina
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