The ways that water has shaped (and continues to shape) our planet, and the ways we’ve manipulated (and continue to manipulate) water, form the pivotal dynamic of this enjoyably watchable, ambitiously encyclopedic documentary/travelogue. Some five years in the making, the film explores, from both distant and intimate perspectives, virtually all facets of the shape-shifting hydrogen/oxygen compound – water as life source, resource and geological marker, as purifier, spectacle and receptacle. Jennifer Baichwal and her husband, cinematographer Nicholas de Pencier, also worked with photographer Edward Burtynsky on 2006’s Manufactured Landscapes, but this time, in addition to being on-screen, Mr. Burtynsky has co-directing and co-executive producer credits. Unsurprisingly, the production looks, in its more elevated moments (literally), like a bunch of animated Burtynsky photos. And like its quicksilver subject, it takes viewers through many moods and emotions.
At VIFF: Oct. 10, 6:15 p.m., Centre in Vancouver for Performing Arts