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Aquarela (2019)

Directed by Victor Kossakovsky

Shot at 96 frames per second, this experimental documentary film is an immersive journey across humbling waterscapes that speaks of climate change louder than any slogans.

In his previous films, iconoclastic Russian documentary filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky focused on the universality of the human experience. While ¡Vivan las antipodas! connected people from opposite points of the planet, Wednesday brought together those born on 19 July 1961. In Aquarela, Kossakovsky turns to the elements while still looking for similarities in the apparently different. Manifested in a shifting array of forms, water in Aquarela takes the shape of Lake Baikal in Siberia, melting icebergs in Greenland, hurricane Irma in Miami, and the Angel Falls in Venezuela. Filmed at a speed three times faster than the human eye, the grandiose water bodies in the film appear in a sense-pummelling, 3D-like clarity.

The film depicts an overwhelming battle of man against water and dialogue in the film is sparse. The main element of the soundscape is a heavy-metal score by Eicca Toppinen, a Finnish musician from the band Apocalyptica. “Can’t you see the ice melts earlier every year?” asks a man by the shores of Lake Baikal. Although said seemingly in passing, global warming is a matter of life and death for the people in the scene and the underlying force of Aquarela, a poignant reminder of nature’s relentlessness.

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