Monday, February 20, 2012

Politics and Poetics of the documentary – FLOW: for love of water



It has been a human characteristic all through the history that they long for whatever is better than what they have. This desire for the better is a never satisfy-able one. In fact, this is the sole reason for all the development, achievements, all cultures and civilizations we have. However, this desire to ‘be better’ and ‘have better’ takes a dangerous turn as it reaches a point where the ‘other’ is affected and sometimes eliminated. It is here that we as humans should prove our humanness. And it is precisely here that we fail too.
The documentary, ‘FLOW: for love of water,’ by Irena Salina is an in-depth gaze into the insensitive human greed for wealth. Insensitivity found here is ultimately towards oneself, because here we steal life giving water itself. For a guileless person, the concept of selling water surely would appear absurd. What surprise then, would it give him/her if he/she hears of a river being sold to an individual!
‘Flow’ succeeds in evoking that emotion towards nature, its resources and life forms, which is absent in today’s world- Love. Flowing like a stream, the documentary leaves a melancholic pain in the viewer’s heart- a pain that urges one into action. This magical flow is created using movements of colour, sound, voice, scenes and ideas. The name of the film, the idea projected, the theme and the dynamics match in a wonderful manner. In fact, ‘FLOW’ tells the story of interrupted flows. ‘FLOW’ sheds tears for the victims of greed and at the same time unleashes its anger at the corporate giants who with gnashing teeth try to devour a thousand generations’ wealth.
Apart from portraying the dangers of the impending danger of depleting fresh water resources, ‘FLOW’ also brings in expert voices to assert the fact that corporate interest sticks out like a sore thumb in this crisis. It is almost unbelievable seeing some of the very familiar and loved brand names like ‘Nestle’ engaging in such dirty politics shamelessly in order to fill their pockets.
Water is not a property to sell, we don’t own it. It is a natural resource. We need to preserve, conserve and use it with love and care. Anyone who watches this documentary with a simple heart will get this message engraved in her/his heart. At the same time, the documentary opens our eyes to the fierce waterless future, and the war multinational companies are waging against common man’s right for water. This is the beauty of the documentary. When one leaves the darkness of the theatre with tears in the eyes, I am sure there would be light in one’s inner eyes and decisions made in one’s heart regarding preservation of the most valuable gift we have- water.
Being a documentary, ‘FLOW’ had the privilege and freedom, not to conform to any existing style of narration. This well researched and excellently videographed documentary challenges all of us human beings in a subtle manner. It invites us to take to action by using water sparingly, and adopting means that ensure safety of our resources. We, the torchbearers of this generation should not be the ones destroy what the earth preserved for millions of years. 

Sajit M. Mathews