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The film follows 16-year-old Austyn Tester, a rising star in the live-broadcast ecosystem who built his following on wide-eyed optimism and teen girl lust, as he tries to escape a dead-end life in rural Tennessee.
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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.
Enterprising theater owners will make this a midnight movie, especially in states where cannabis is legal. I saw the film completely sober at the SF Film Festival, at a Dolby cinema where the intense visuals and sound made me feel high as a kite. It was like a rollercoaster that I wanted to ride again as soon as it was over. Whew! My mouth was hanging open and and my eyebrows at their highest height for the whole movie. Parts of it were like a horror film, parts of it were psychedelic, parts of it were just spectacularly beautiful.
There's no narrative, no plot, no dialogue. It's just pure experience. Cinema to stimulate your senses and your ability to perceive the grandeur of the earth. At the end I felt the film was a eulogy for the planet, something that should be put in a time capsule so that someday other creatures would be able to see what this planet was and think what a shame that humans ruined that place.
I assume that most people will miss out on this film but it really should be seen by everyone who still has the ability to grasp what is happening with climate change. Kudos to the cinematographer and the director. This film should win awards. I wish I could see it again and again.... If this film doesn't inspire environmental activism I don't know what will. I hope Al Gore sees it and promotes it on his tours...
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