"Belovy (the Belovs)" is a breathtaking portrait of a troubled peasant family. It's poetry in the form of a documentary that won many prizes. Beautifully shot in vintage black and white, ... See full summary »
Anna Fyodorovna Belova,
Mikhail Fyodorovich Belov,
Vasiliy Fyodorovich Belov
In a popular suburb of Dakar, workers on the construction site of a futuristic tower, without pay for months, decide to leave the country by the ocean for a better future. Among them is Souleiman, the lover of Ada, promised to another.
A married couple is forced to reckon with their idealized image of their son, adopted from war-torn Eritrea, after an alarming discovery by a devoted high school teacher threatens his status as an all-star student.
Agnès Varda, photographer, installation artist and pioneer of the Nouvelle Vague, is an institution of French cinema. Taking a seat on a theatre stage, she uses photos and film excerpts to provide an insight into her unorthodox oeuvre.
Water is the main protagonist, seen in all its great and terrible beauty. Mountains of ice move and break apart as if they had a life of their own. Kossakovsky's film travels the world, from the precarious frozen waters of Russia's Lake Baikal and Miami in the throes of Hurricane Irma, to Venezuela's mighty Angel Falls in order to paint a portrait of this fluid life force in all its glorious forms. Fragile humans experience life and death, joy and despair in the face of its power.
Outstanding nature documentary: water is truly a force of nature
"Aquarela" (2018 release from Denmark; 89 min.) is a documentary about water, in its many forms and facets. As the movie opens, we see 3-4 guys walking gingerly on ice, and looking for something. That something turns out to be a car that has sunk into the lake when the ice gave way, and eventually they are able to retrieve the car from the lake. Later on, we see another car partially submerged, and then, incredibly, we see a car driven on the ice, only to be swallowed by the lake. At this point we are 10 min. into the film.
Couple of comments: this is the latest documentary from Russian director VIctor Kossakovsky. Here he brings a 90 min. visual spectacle, without any voice-over or any other information, about water. I tried to figure out where the entire opening scene about the guys retrieving cars from the frozen pond took place, but couldn't. There is no overall narrative as such, the film simply focuses on water. The segment about icebergs shedding large sections of ice is fascinating. Not to imply that other segments aren't good, far from it. The movie really brings home the point that water truly is a force of nature. It amazes how noisy and forceful it is. Needless to say, the photography is eye-candy from start to finish. For outsized documentaries like this one, one might expect the original score to play an equally outsized role, but that is not the case here. There isn't much music in the film, and the music that is there is from none other that Finnish instrumental heavy metal band Apocalyptica! Wow.
"Aquarela" premiered at this year's Sundance film festival to good acclaim. It finally showed this weekend at my local art-house theater here in CIncinnati, and I couldn't wait to see it. The Saturday matinee screening where I saw this at was attended dismally (4 people). That's a darn shame if you ask me. If you like a "bigger than life" nature documentary, I'd readily suggest you check out "Aquarela", be it in the theatre (if you still can), on VOD, or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
1 of 3 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this