An informative but inconsistant look at water issues

[monoslideshow id=6]Anyone who has followed recent events in places such as Pakistan knows the devastation that water issues can cause.

Water Wars: When Drought, Flood And Greed Collide is a documentary that could have had a more timely impact. Even with Martin Sheen as narrator, this production does not seem serious about engaging viewers on this important issue.

Water Wars focuses on Bangladesh’s struggle to both manage and attain usable water. The documentary portrays the shocking results of their lack of control over this particular natural resource. Yet at times, the low quality of some of the presentation diminishes the seriousness of the issue.

As India has started building dams in its rivers, the country has more control over the amount of water moving downstream into Bangladesh. The smaller country has often endured harsh droughts during the dry season and almost complete submersion during the wet seasons due to these dams.

Bangladesh has started digging for water to sustain the people through drought periods. Almost 70 percent of this water contains enough arsenic to poison the impoverished villages.

The documentary provides interviews with experts in western nations. Many of those interviewed have dealt with activists and government workers in Bangladesh who either witness or experience the country’s water conflicts regularly. The interviews contain the information needed for audiences to understand the politics of the situation.

The executive producer and his daughter, both from Bangladesh, attempt to add an emotional element to the documentary through personal accounts and their encounters with villagers. These portions are the least appealing parts of the film. They fail to capture the emotions of the actual people suffering and struggling through these water crises. They resemble awkward intrusions rather than an attempt at sentimentality.

The seemingly unfiltered footage of floating dead people and flooded villages is enough to shock the audience into responding emotionally.

Some smaller technical details are also difficult to let go. Much of the footage shown is clearly over 15 years old. It confuses viewers as to the chronology of the production because little explanation is given.

The documentary has very inconsistant subtitling, but the subtitling is very necessary. These small details are somewhat perplexing to viewers and make the information less fluid.

The DVD was released on Aug. 31 and it can be ordered for $19.95 at http://Store.CinemaLibreStore.com/waterwars
Yet for a film that runs less than one hour and was as awkward to watch, it might be a better idea to wait for a television station like UEN to air it.

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