Aquarela Review: A Mesmerizing Water Documentary

Aquarela is primarily focused on the relentless power of water. Filmed at 96 frames per second, Aquarela covers the entire world and shows the effects of climate change on the main element of life. Russian director Victor Kossakovsky takes you on an austere and visceral journey. His documentary has zero narration, simple crumbs of dialogue and no consistent graphical structure. It can be hypnotic and terrifying at the same time, but also noisy and too abstract over long distances. Aquarela is certainly a unique cinematic experience.

The film begins with striking images of glaciers collapsing into the sea. The high frame rate allows for ultra-precise slow-motion shooting. Ice patches break between them and the water with roaring boom. The visuals are accompanied by an extremely detailed sound. Suddenly, the ice road that borders Lake Baikal changes. Emergency personnel are struggling to get a car out of the water. They scream against another driver who foolishly ignored warnings about thin ice. A heavy tribute is paid for this madness.

Aquarela then changes his point of view into enormous ocean waves. The gigantic tides jostle in a fierce heavy metal soundtrack. The bass drum and bass drum give effect to your senses. It's chaos and cacophony like screen convulsions. The assault ends with a calm respite from the other side of the world. Aquarela transports you to the falls of angels in Venezuela. Mists invade a weak rainbow. The swing between idyllic and violent continues. From a walk in the street through Hurricane Irma to the glittering shadows of light flowing through ice flows, Aquarela is unique in the world.

Victor Kossakovsky's camera work, cinematography and mixing deserve to be recognized. The immersive filmmaking techniques of Aquarela make it possible to involve the public in action. You feel the glaciers moan, shudder, then turn into mini tsunamis. My stomach began to shake as a desperate deck-mate struggled to steer his moving ship through wild waves. If only the film had spread the wealth evenly.

Aquarela is too disjointed in his approach. The scenes that are gripping are grouped together. Enthusiasm grows, rewards, then decreases considerably over long periods. Kossakovsky loses interest in these lulls. Four spectators came out of the film midway. Aquarela is not long, barely ninety minutes; but drags when you look at the flow of water. Kossakovsky would have benefited from the ten pages and the Bang method. Take the spicy pieces and sprinkle the weak spots during the execution phase. A background narrative could have been built around car accidents on Lake Baikal. The melting of ice earlier each year reinforces the theme of climate change and adds the necessary structure to the film. end of the movie theaters. The film must be seen in a state of the art theater to really appreciate the experience. The sound and images are breathtaking and worth the price of an admission compared to the narrative problems. Aquarela may be uncomfortable for some audiences, but the film is designed to test the limits and challenge the designs. Aquarela is currently in a limited version. It will be deployed in new markets over several weeks. Aquarela is produced by Participant Media and distributed by Sony Pictures Classics.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or official position of Movieweb.


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