LOST RIVERS (Caroline Bâcle). 72 minutes. Some subtitles. Opens Friday (March 1). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NNNN
Finally getting a commercial release after opening last year's Planet In Focus Film Festival, Lost Rivers is Montreal documentarian Caroline Bâcle's exploration of a curious human trait.
Throughout history, we've built cities along rivers, eventually burying them underneath our ever-expanding urban habitats. But in recent years, activists and city planners have tried to bring those rivers back to the surface, restoring and reintegrating nature back into metropolitan space.
Bâcle travels around the globe to find rivers in various states of rediscovery. In Seoul, the Cheonggyecheon Stream has become the centrepiece of a massive urban beautification project. It's mirrored by efforts to restore the Saw Mill River in 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 world is always just a few feet away, waiting to return.