DVD: FLOW - For Love Of Water
Visit the film's website: www.flowthefilm.com
SOME FACTS WORTH KNOWING:
Water is a $400 Billion industry, third-largest after electricity and oil.
1.1 Billion people live without clean drinking water.
On average, botttled water costs 900 times the mount of tap water.
This year, Americans will spend $40 Billion on bottled water.
25% of all bottled water is just re-packaged tap water.
Tap water regulation has more stringent governmental standards than that of bottled water regulation.
The amount of oil required to put one bottle of water in your hand would fill 1/4 of that same bottle.
90% of used water bottles are not recycled.
Right now, millions of pounds of trash are floating in the Pacific Ocean to form an 'island' at least twice the size of Texas – 90% of that trash is discarded plastic.
• "This by turns lyrical and indicting testament to the importance of water and increasing attempts to privatize it lucidly conveys a coming crisis and its grass-roots solution. Travelling from India to South Africa to Bolivia to Michigan, filmmaker Irena Salina lays out the global problem: huge corporations (Vivendi, Suez, Nestle) have capitalized on a looming water shortage and, with the support of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, have forced poor farmers and urban dwellers to pay for 'purified' water that often is anything but.
By turns heartbreaking and infuriating, FLOW makes its case by way of persuasive witnesses, including authors, activists and even reformed water barons who now make a universal, affordable, sustainable water supply their life's work. It sounds simple, but they're up against some of the most formidable corporate and government powers on Earth."
– Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 9/19/08
• "Salina's astonishingly wide-ranging film is less depressing than galvanizing, an informed and heartfelt examination of the tug-of-war between public health and privateinterests."
– Jeannette Catsoulis, N.Y. Times, 9/12/08
• "Not all documenmtaries are solution-oriented, but this [one] is."
– LawrenceToppman, Charlotte (N.C.) Observer
• "The scariest film I saw at Sundance." – Wired magazine
• "It's not very often that tears start rolling down my cheeks while watching a political documentry! FLOW was that moving. A film full of both the very best and the very worst humanity has to offer.
I'm an environmental activist and have been following global water issues for years. What makes FLOW so absolutely wonderful is that it covers it all. It's like watching a prosecutor make an indictment: needless water contamination by some rather nasty chemicals, such as pesticides, herbicides and pharmaceuticals; harm caused by World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) policies; gross abuses of human rights by smug transnational water corporations throughout the world, including the U.S.A.; harm caused by damming many of the world's largest rivers; preventable diseases and deaths caused by polluted water, such as cholera; hormonal changes in fish and amphibians.
On the other hand you see some incredibly brave people stand up to these mind-boggling abuses of power. Even an extemely elderly disciple of Mohandas Gandhi teaches the next generation of activists how to be effective. Plenty of brilliant and appropriate, low-technology solutions are shown. It does not take huge transnational corporations to assure the delivery of safe drinking water, which is (pardon the pun) made crystal clear.
FLOW is one of thr most outstanding documentaries I have had the privilege to watch in my entire life." [review from Amazon.com viewer, 10/17/08]
A review by Chris Barsanti:
• "When the world is on the line, it's easy to lose focus. So it is with Irena Salina's crisply-packaged and beautifully photographed but scattered documentary on the worldwide water crisis, FLOW. Salina is certainly able to put across the inarguable proposition that the world is facing a water crisis in the near future or even present; simple math about usage rates, waste and the still-growing human population make it impossible to disagree...
The most valuable takeaway point from FLOW comes from its sure-footed argument about the troubling development of the bottled water industry. The film zeroes in on a number of cases in whuch giant conglomerates were literally sucking a region's water supply dry, and getting tax breaks from the local government for the privilege. Salina, a one-time French radio journalist, seems at her most sure-footed when detailing the minutiae of stories like this, particularly in one instance where a Michigan community rose up in opposition to a Nestle bottling operation in their town.
It's in the mostly unreported efforts like these by international business concerns to actually privatize the distribution of water that FLOW has its greatest value. Reporting from South America on the backlash against the push (backed by groups like the International Monetary Fund) to turn water distribution from a public to private concern, the film gives an inkling of the vast societal upheaval such a change produces. Spokespeople from a few of these business concerns show up to mouth platitudes about how they're just doing their job and delivering clean water for the good of humanity, a claim that the film easily demolishes...
Given that there is practically no more central concern for the continuation of human life on the planet than a clean water supply, addressing such a broad swath of issues would have been better handled in a multi-part miniseries project.
That FLOW is an issue film is clear from the get-go, and yet by dispersing its narrative energy among so many different fronts (India, Bolivia, Africa) the crux of what Salina is trying to get across here doesn't become apparent until the end. The film continues with the news that a movement is underway for the United Nations to include as part of its Universal Declaration of Human Rights the stipulation that all people deserve the right to clean and accessible water."