'Flow': A Crisis Made Clear

Friday, September 19, 2008

"Flow: For Love of Water" was one of the audience favorites at this year's Environmental Film Festival, so we're lucky it's coming back for a theatrical run. This by turns lyrical and indicting testament to the importance of water and increasing attempts to privatize it lucidly conveys a coming crisis and its grass-roots solution.

Traveling from India to South Africa to Bolivia to Michigan, filmmaker Irena Salina lays out the global problem: Huge corporations (Vivendi, Suez, Nestle) have capitalized on a looming water shortage and, with the support of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, have forced poor farmers and urban dwellers to pay for "purified" water that often is anything but.

By turns heartbreaking and infuriating, "Flow" makes its case by way of persuasive witnesses, including authors, activists and even reformed former water barons who now make a universal, affordable, sustainable water supply their life's work. It sounds simple, but they're up against some of the most formidable corporate and government powers on Earth. "Flow" might have benefited from opposing voices, especially from the much-maligned World Bank, but the message is as clear as its subject matter should be: There's one more thing to worry about, and you just showered in it.

-- Ann Hornaday

Flow: For Love of Water Unrated, 84 minutes Contains nothing objectionable. At Landmark's E Street Cinema.


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