Movies are expensive, and going to theaters can be a pain, and “It’s a documentary... about water!” isn't the most rousing tagline—but Aquarela is worth every bit of effort to see on the biggest screen and with the loudest sound. Ranging from Russia to Miami to Venezuela, director Viktor Kossakovsky’s gorgeous, jarring film captures stunning sights and sounds: Massive, cracking icebergs lurch like breaching leviathans. Intricate blades of glacial ice slice the sky. Wind and rain whip through a devastated ghost-city, a hurricane screaming as Aquarela's camera cruises calmly through abandoned streets. Sailors are thrown by storms; flailing men plummet through ice; waves that seem the size of planets loom and loom and loom before exploding into chaos. The music, courtesy of Apocalyptica’s Eicca Toppinin, is thick with shuddering guitar riffs, underscoring Kossakovsky’s eye-widening, stomach-churning reminder of how, in comparison to a natural force like this one, the accomplishments and failures of humankind are laughably small and pathetically meaningless. Unspoken in Aquarela, but lurking behind each image, is another reminder: That, as we hurtle toward a changed climate, the water around us remains as beautiful and lethal as ever—and just as indifferent to our frail attempts to constrain it.

by Erik Henriksen
Showtimes & Tickets


Victor Kossakovsky

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