It strikes me as fitting that Kevin McMahon’s (McLuhan’s Wake) latest film, Waterlife, is opening theatrically on World Environment Day. The film, which is narrated by the Tragically Hip’s Gord Downie (very cool by the way), is all about how our last great supply of fresh water on earth is in danger.
Sewage, invasive plant life and species are all working towards destroying this precious resource. The review in the Toronto Star says, “The ecology of the Great Lakes is changing so rapidly, mutations are resulting. Fish are changing gender. Cancer rates and miscarriages in adjoining human populations are skyrocketing.”
Fish are changing gender? That’s a little too Simpsons 3-headed-fish scary for me.
The film just won the coveted Special Jury Prize – Canadian Feature at the 2009 Hot Docs festival, and the reviews in the Toronto Sun and the Toronto Star have been great. My favourite quote (perhaps mildly inappropriate) came from Chris Knight at the National Post when he refers to the amount of pharmaceuticals found in our water: “Never mind taking medication with water; now our water comes with medication. The wag in me couldn’t help thinking that the more anti-depressants end up in the lakes, the less we’ll be inclined to worry about them.”
I think by focusing on the story from a human perspective, following individuals whose lives are directly affected by the condition of the Great Lakes, was a great way to make the underlying story accessible. And besides, with the likes of Sam Roberts, Robbie Robertson and Brian Eno, the flick’s got a killer soundtrack.
The film opens today in Toronto at the Varsity and Canada Square. For the opening weekend, panel discussions will follow the 6:50 pm screening at the Varsity. Details are as follows:
Friday, June 5: Featuring Kevin McMahon (filmmaker) and Derek Stack (Great Lakes United Executive Director).
Sunday, June 7: Featuring Marty Muter (Georgian Baykeeper, Georgian Bay Forever).
To learn more about the issues covered in the film, click here.
Check Cinema Clock for schedules.