LOST RIVERS (Caroline Bâcle). See listings. Rating: NNNN
The Planet In Focus Film Festival kicks off its 13th edition with Montreal documentarian Caroline Bâcle's look at a curious human trait.
Throughout history we've built cities along rivers, but eventually bury those rivers under our ever-expanding urban habitats. In recent years, activists and city planners have started trying to bring those rivers back to the surface, restoring and reintegrating nature back into metropolitan space.
Lost Rivers travels the globe to find waterways in various states of rediscovery. In Seoul, the Cheonggyecheon Stream is the centrepiece of a massive urban beautification project; another effort is restoring the Saw Mill River through Yonkers, New York.
Not every buried river is likely to see sunlight again. The rivers of London remain hidden beneath its roads (except for the Thames, of course), and here in Toronto, Garrison Creek stays buried beneath the Trinity Bellwoods dog bowl.
Bâcle gives them all their due in a crisply edited, ultimately hopeful documentary. Lost Rivers reminds us of the value of the natural world, suggesting that that world is always just a few feet away, waiting to return.
Screens Wednesday (October 10) at the TIFF Bell Lightbox, followed by the festival's opening-night party at the Hyatt Regency.