Review: Aquarela (2019 Sundance Film Festival)

Title: Aquarela
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Viktor Kossakovsky
Starring: Mother Nature (In All Her Glory)
Runtime: 1 hr 29 mins

What It Is: In this documentary, the effects of climate change result in the breaking of ice masses worldwide including places like Greenland and the arctic circle. Through Viktor Kossakovsky’s lens, we are given the sound of bombs in the tundra. these bombs are the result of giant portions of ice breaking off. Not only that but a look into the people who live in some of the coldest inhabitable areas. Likewise, we see the consequences these people are subjected to.

What We Think: This is an utterly breathtaking cinematic experience. The kind built for IMAX. The metal in this might be heavy but the ice is thin and that sets up some of the scenarios here. In the moments the music changes so to does the docs pacing. It lags in those moments and in reality, shouldn’t have. There’s a sense of lingering with where the camera is. Like the film lurks for a bit too long in certain scenes. Other times there’s just wonder as to how. How did they pull that shot off? Despite the lingering or maybe because of it, you feel the cold in the theater.

Our Grade: C+, The lag certainly hurts this but the subject matter and beauty are enough to wrangle a somewhat positive grade. I’d certainly suggest those into this type of documentary explore this. There’s really quite a bit of beauty to gaze upon. Insofar as this film goes I’d see this on the biggest screen available. The lack of narration may kill the experience for some, and maybe don’t check this out if you haven’t slept enough. The breaking of ice and movement of water is certainly a calming experience.

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