Tap into issues in smart doc about water.
FLOW: FOR LOVE OF WATER (Irena Salina). 84 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (October 17). For venues and times, see Movies. Rating: NNN
I mean no slight when I say that Irena Salina's documentary Flow: For Love Of Water takes a complex issue and makes it comprehensible to a casual viewer. But at the same time, it's kind of dry.
That's a little strange, since Flow is so clearly the work of an impassioned filmmaker. Salina wants to draw her audience's attention to the hundreds of millions of people around the globe without access to clean water, living at constant risk of getting sick or even dying from such water-borne diseases as cholera and dysentery.
It's an appalling reality, especially when the technology for cheap, simple water purification is readily available. Ultraviolet-light purification systems cost just $2 per person per year and can be set up almost anywhere on the planet.
But after spending half her film discussing the problem and its possible solutions, Salina drops the thread and turns her attention to the West's obsession with bottled water and the exploitation of American aquifers by companies like Coca-Cola (which sells Dasani), Pepsi (Aquafina) and Nestlé (Poland Spring and Arrowhead, among others).
It's a shift that makes sense in the film's larger context of framing access to clean water as an essential human right, but it also hobbles the momentum that's been building in the first half - and leaves me wondering whether Flow might not have been more effective as a pair of shorter TV documentaries.