Flow: For Love of Water (2008) Poster

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At least it is talking about the next big thing
intelearts28 January 2009
I love the critic who gave this two stars: they only have one review, and they lump Flow, Sicko, No Logo together under the title of "Anti-capitalist" - they are more than entitled to their opinion, but rather like those who dismiss environmental damage as a necessary collateral of feeding the masses, so water is just water, huh, not THE commodity of the 21st century?

Should it be privatized? Should it be run for a profit? Why do I pay taxes?

Given that water is the ultimate human need shouldn't it be the most carefully guarded human right? At least Flow starts to ask and raise these questions.

If you thought An Inconvenient Truth was an eye opener Flow will change forever your awareness of water issues.If the purpose of this type of documentary is to raise awareness then it succeeds. Massively.
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Required Viewing
dedalus6262 April 2008
I saw a screening of FLOW at AFI Dallas, and it's one of the best documentaries (perhaps even THE best) I've ever seen.

The film covers a lot of ground. In fact, Salina probably could have made a series of films from her research. But instead she's managed to condense it down to a very watchable hour and a half. As she said in a Q&A after the screening, she realized during her research that although there is a wide range of water problems spread all across the globe, they are all connected, and it's important to look at the big picture. And from the viewer's perspective it's also interesting to see the connections between water problems in communities in India or Bolivia where privatization is putting poor communities in serious danger and communities in Michigan where Nestle is stealing water from the aquifers without paying a penny.

And, like any good documentary, this one doesn't stop just after presenting a problem; it also talks about how communities are fighting back, providing inspiration for viewers to take a stand as well. This film should be required viewing.
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A must see
Antonio11 November 2008
This film is as important, or maybe even more so, than any film you will see this year. While, most of us go to the theater to watch make-belief and whimsical movies, it's also nice once in a while to see films which touch us all as a human race. I see someone mentioned that this film is blatantly "one-sided" - well, it should be. Water is what we all need to LIVE, simple as that. When major corporations around the world start to get control of this natural resource: there is a problem. If a company can create a movie that can justify the other side of this issue, being the killing of young children through bad water in other places of the world then I'd love to see it. The movie was not "anti-capitalist" - it was "PRO-Human" and believe me, I'm no tree-hugger, in fact, I'm all business, all the time. But when business hurts innocent people...then there is a problem. This movie is about the growing issue of lack of water, an issue that will be growing in the next few years. A must see, in my humble opinion.
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For Love of FLOW
EPOMERANCE10 June 2008
FLOW - for the love of water A new documentary by Irena Salina

Why would I argue "Flow" is a masterpiece and must be seen? The truth is always in the details. It is not just another documentary banging you over the head to make a point. It actually serves as a poem about human struggle and the ability of the small person to rise up and fight the big corporation. Since most movies of this genre act as scare mongers, leaving the viewer overwhelmed and powerless at the end, this sets out to do exactly the opposite. The strength of this documentary is that it gives you the tools and the inspiration, to pick up the torch and run with it. It so effected me I could not bare to reach for my bottle of Poland Spring water and it was the hottest day on record yesterday, so that in itself speaks well for any film maker.

What Irena Salina has pulled off is nothing less than a miracle. She brings you the details: varieties of women carrying buckets of water on their heads, different countries, same problem. Castrated frogs, fish turning female en mass, then quietly Salina introduces her protagonist, water. Water is as fascinating as it is universal. It is both a necessity for all life on this planet, but the blood stream of the planet. Salinas makes the analogy of the blood circulating around the body and compares it with the waters of the earth.

Salina manages to always refrain from preaching by using amusing cartoons and clips from classics like, "The Third Man," to keep you in suspense and amused. After all, laughter is the greatest key to learning. Salina makes us laugh, then delivers the information that will keep you awake at night.

After showing the horror show of what the water companies have done in: South Africa, Bolivia and India, it returns home to show what is happening here in the States. The bad guys are well established by now: Suez, Vivendi and Thames Water. We begin with introductions from the CEOs of those companies, smiling like Cheshire cats, congratulating themselves for the great work they are doing. As with the trickle down effect, we meet the people living in the areas, where dams were built, forcing them off their land and depriving them of a water supply and a living. The we see how these same companies sell the water back to the villagers at a premium.

In South Africa it was explained, the poorest man on the street pays more than the wealthiest individual, just to use a communal tap. The other villain who remains faceless is the World Bank, who in return for their loans, forces countries to sell their water rights or lose out on "water development." What the film teaches us is "water development" is a wolf in sheep's clothing. Promising clean water and better supply, it actually delivers worse. Water that is undrinkable at best and expensive water that no one can afford. There there is Cholera, which is having a hell of a come back and it is all thanks to the World Bank.

In America the battle has begun in Michigan, where Nestle has been leasing land for the paltry sum of $65,000 for ninety years. While the Poland Spring people happily pump away the under ground reservoirs, they reduce nearby riverbanks to mud banks. What happens when the demand is so high that the locals not only lose their rivers, but also have to buy back their water, so they can drink, wash or grow crops? Sound familiar? Michigan took Nestle to the Supreme Court, only to have the ruling upturned. The amounts of water they could extract were reduced. So they simply leased another piece of land.

I found the water imagery and the score by Christophe Julien, provided a well needed release for the viewer. I have high hopes that this film will become compulsory viewing for governments and schools. The equation that for every bottle of water you drink, you are depriving whole villages of water in the third world and soon America, should make an impact. Not to mention the knowledge that bottled water is less regulated than tap water. Or the fact that those bottles are creating islands, not to mention killing off countless wild life. Not to mention the millions of displaced people who have no water. Is this what we have in store in America?

On a final note, the result of all of the "detail" in this movie, drove me to buy a filter system for our taps. I also went to my pet shop to get a tester. Apparently people who own fish tanks have always known about this stuff.

I should also be mentioned that this little film raised a lot of powerful eyebrows at Sundance Film Festival and is being released shortly at the Angelika and Cinema Village East. See it before your friends do, or suffer not only from ignorance but thirst!

For more information about the film see website: flowthefilm.com
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Eye-opening documentary
pierrejcd14 December 2009
I wish everyone would see this movie. It has one simple thesis: there is a drive to privatize water. It supports its thesis with examples and details about those examples with interviews from experts, local people impacted, and even try to involve the companies that are attempting to privatize, with images, with maps,... It also provides easy solutions to the problem of providing water to the people who need it the most. There are a few arguments that are not supported (like the one on chemicals being absorbed through our skin and such,...) by one activist. The main CEOs of those companies refuse to respond to the allegations (because they know they cannot defend what they are doing, they avoid answering the questions). It is a pretty important documentary. One of the most important doc. I have seen in years. People who criticize this doc. on form are so lame. It is not supposed to be a Hollywood movie! I doubt they have the budgets to build ramps to allow smooth filming, for instance.
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A good example how corporatocracy works.
carsteniq9 June 2009
This documentary is a good example, of so many, how our monetary system really operates and its consequences it generates. How wealth gets transfered from the poor to the rich and how short term profit results in long term destruction. How a small group of rich people decide the faith and future of so many people in this world. This is also better known as corporatocracy. I would have liked to see more from the scientific side to support some of the arguments of the movie especially in terms of technology used right now and the total consequence of it. Also a bit more evidence in total would have given this documentary more momentum. But, I must say most of this movie is well researched and it speaks for itself. Points are very clear made.
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My Tears Started Flowing! Should Be Required Viewing Before Graduating College!
liberalgems16 October 2008
It's not very often that tears start rolling down my cheeks while watching a political documentary! Flow was that moving! A film full of both the very best and the very worst humanity has to offer.

I'm an environmental activist and have been following global water issues for years. What makes Flow so absolutely wonderful is that it covers it all. It's like watching a prosecutor make an indictment: needless water contamination by some rather nasty chemicals, such as pesticides, herbicides and pharmaceuticals; harm caused by World Bank & IMF policies; gross abuses of human rights by smug transnational water corporations throughout the world, including the USA; harm caused by damming many of the world's largest rivers; preventable diseases and deaths caused by polluted water, such a cholera; hormonal changes in fish and amphibians.

On the other hand you see some incredibly brave people stand up to these mind-boggling abuses of power. Even an extremely elderly disciple of Mahatma Gandhi teaches the next generation of activists how to be effective. Plenty of brilliant and appropriate, low-technology solutions are shown. It does not take huge transnational corporations to assure the delivery of safe drinking water, which is (pardon the pun) made crystal clear!

Flow is one of the most outstanding documentaries I have had the privilege to watch in my entire life! My hat's off to all those who made this magnificent film possible!
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Water Wars
mohammed Ehteshamuddin12 February 2008
Amazing documentary on the subject of water privatization around the globe screened at the 10th Mumbai International film festival India-2008

Hat's off to the Director Irena Salena for her brave attempt which took her five years to complete this wonderful film. I do believe this is a film that should be shone, in schools across the the entire globe.

This film widens the vision you have of the conflict, by letting us see it through the eyes of the poor, innocent and affected people of the world.

I also want to congratulate the director for making such an impact on award ceremonies world wide & winning the International jury award in the International Competition section at the 10th m.i.f.f India 2008.

Keep it up Irena & best of luck for your future projects.

Ehteshamuddin-Karachi,Pakistan 12-02-08
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Everyone should see this
buckslap519 November 2008
I saw this at IDA- Doc week. What a gem. This is not just important environmentally, but it is important culturally and socially. Not to mention it is highly entertaining. There is actually a funny segment taken from Penn and Teller's BS show. You can see the bit on U Tube, Penn and Teller "Water Bottles". When the film shows how the poorest communities around the world are really affected by the united states water bottle consumption. I have stopped buying any water bottles since I saw this film. There is a website one can sign a petition as well, which one can sign the petition to add a 31st article to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, establishing access to clean water as a fundamental human right.
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For the love of water
razmatazern21 June 2010
Flow made me pretty angry at big businesses and the few corporations that have control over most of the water industry. It especially got me angry during the parts about the poor areas that don't get water flow just because the big businesses are greedy and think everybody should have to pay for something that is completely natural and comes from the Earth. It boggles my mind that water is not as easily obtainable as it should be for everyone. Water is a necessity in life and should be easily accessible.

Any film that can work me up like "Flow: For the Love of Water" should be considered a good movie. Flow is very informative and interesting, and everybody should watch it to learn about the corporations that control our water. Also, the film is beautifully made and well-put together.
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Good heart, fuzzy details and structure
mblute14 May 2009
Unfortunately, Flow takes an important subject and reduces it to sound bytes from community activists played over poorly photographed and edited b-roll and interviews. All emotion and no brains. The film has no coherent structure, rather it wanders from example to example of purported corporate water transgressions without actually examining the science behind the problems. I really believe that these problems need to be addressed so I'm saddened by an approach that is not effective. While I sympathize with (what I believe to be) the message of the filmmakers, they do such a poor job of supporting their arguments with anything substantive, as a viewer I'm left feeling slighted by their lack of investigation or presentation. They are guilty of all the same things I hate about Fox news, just on the other side of the political spectrum.
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Good topic, bad delivery
jonson-joe31 May 2009
I never write comments, but after watching this so to say documentary I just had to comment on it. The documentary had potential, but the story is underdeveloped. Instead of showing rows and rows of deprived people, the makers of the movie could have at least included some interviews with actual scientists, instead of dubious book authors and some random characters. There is no argument in the movie, but there are lots of heart-breaking shots of small children looking into the camera and dramatic music. Yes, I too feel bad for them, but you can't solve the water shortage with emotions. This movie is targeted on the primitive human emotions. What do the movie-makers want to achieve with this movie? It does not even provoke thoughts, because there are very few facts and ideas voiced. If you bear to watch till the end and wait for the titles there will be a few small-scale solutions, which should have been the focus of the documentary instead of a mish-mash people talking.

I am an environmental scientist and don't work for a global corporation. This is why I say that this documentary almost gives a bad name to environmental activism, because of the poor and factless delivery of subject.

Only because the topic is important I give it 2/10. But don't watch this movie if you are looking for anything but heart-breaking entertainment.
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Given its controversial title, "Flow" turned out to be a rather well-balanced documentary.
Dominik Kania27 February 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Given its controversial title, "Flow" turned out to be a rather well- balanced documentary. It focuses on the often overlooked impact of water shortages or lack of its affordability in many poor and often densely populated rural areas. While the move focuses primarily on rural India, it also offers some engaging overview of the situation in the US. The principal argument is that first, the water should remain a public resources. Second, locally-managed water pumps sustained by recipient communities make clean drinking water both cheaper and more fairly distributed. As an example, the movie gives a community-run UV treatment facility, where 10 litres of clean drinking water per person per day can be obtained at less than $2 per year.

To give a sense of balance, the movie features commentary by a former IMF official and the CEO of Vivendi - a water management business. However, those are often used simply to back producer's intention to vilify practices by MNCs such as Videndi, Suez or Nestle. A more- informed discussion of the benefits those companies bring would have been welcome.

The movie also offers no discussion of severe under-pricing of water which in turn leads to overconsumption. There is also no discussion of the potential socio-economic benefits that dams can bring to the affected regions.

Notwithstanding, the documentary was both very informative and stimulating. While a bit light on cost-benefit analysis, it will be appreciated not only by Development Economists by all those with broader interest in the world around them.

Dominik Kania
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The world we live in
sergepesic8 August 2011
Well, that is the world we live in. Relentless greed, appalling lack of information on our media, corruption and oppression. Water will be the cause of the biggest war that this unfortunate planet ever had. Money, power, oil- all the good reasons for violence and bloodletting. But, water- the pure life force is something that we can not live without. It isn't about greed or desire to possess- it is about survival. Corporations are the devil. They own politicians, they own media, they own the world. You cant even sue them, the whole corrupt system works for their benefit. But the human spirit bursts and explodes, and the world we live in, will change or evaporate like it never was.
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Not recommended
tachyon-75 July 2011
Just a terrible terrible documentary. It only shows one side of the situation, which is the film-makers right, but doesn't really give the viewer any unbiased information to form their own opinion.

The whole thing is a tirade against big business, but they miss the mark on which types of businesses they are targeting. Sure, Nestle is pumping 216,000 gallons of water per day out of the ground, but what about the water that is wasted daily on cooling nuclear reactors, doing coal seam fracs (small fracs are about 600 m3 of water, 600,000 litres, or about 150,000 gallons).

The film-makers didn't do their homework, the whole documentary feels like it was rushed and it didn't dig very deeply into the history behind what is going on or why. They raised a few interesting points, but could have made those same points in about 10 minutes, not 90.

I watch a documentary to be educated and possibly entertained, this documentary didn't meet that criteria, so I am unable to recommend it to other viewers.
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Just another one of those
GabrielaHaro10 September 2008
I remember a certain web page that featured "unseen movie reviews", based on the idea that, to make a review for some movies, it is only necessary to watch the trailer, and not the entire film (and sometimes, not even that)... this was the case of movies such as I am Sam or others of that kind. No doubt this is also the case of FLOW. One of the comments above stated that this movie certainly "had heart"... well this might just be the problem. Ideas such as this should not try to appeal mostly to our feelings. Also, in the broad context of the growing awareness about the supposed sad state of our planet's ecology(and especially, in regard to the main causes of this condition), this movie is anything but original... a piece about the future scarcity of water was just the next logical step. Like The Corporation, No Logo and Sicko, this is just another form of crass anti-capitalism... I expect this movie to be a big hit in France. I did not like the one-sided and blatantly biased approach to a serious subject that this movie proposed.
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A simple yet effective look at the woes stemming from our 'right'
thug_thug26 April 2008
I watched this at Bloor Cinema yesterday, luckily missing the TTC strike might I add, with my high school.

The movie is obviously biased and it shows -- and that's not a bad thing. It takes a gritty, firsthand look into the atrocities many parts of the world face day in and day out, eventually juxtaposing our overconsumption.

Maybe it was due to the director being there (in the theatre) and letting us know it took her four years to make, but the movie had heart. It faces the problems and also takes a look at solutions, finally ending with what people are doing on our own continent.

It's a mixture of life over there and life on North America. It's real.

I had a few problems with the pace and editing, along with a shot of a girl being pushed down (it was shown on screen twice, to my calculations) that felt taken out of context. The movie also felt slightly lacking, like the information wasn't totally delivered.

It makes you want to feel like an expert without truly paying it's part of the bargain. But that's a minor gripe.

This is definitely one of those movies that everyone should see.
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