Alternately political and apolitical, pessimistic and optimistic -- but rarely, if ever, cinematic -- Sam Bozzo's "Blue Gold: World Water Wars" works best as a smallscreen educational docu that alerts its audience to the corporate raiding of dangerously diminishing H2O supplies worldwide.

Alternately political and apolitical, pessimistic and optimistic — but rarely, if ever, cinematic — Sam Bozzo’s “Blue Gold: World Water Wars” works best as a smallscreen educational docu that alerts its audience to the corporate raiding of dangerously diminishing H2O supplies worldwide. Book-based film combines footage, including re-enactments, from around the globe, adding illustrative animation in a bid to hydrate its rather parched narrative. If the modestly budgeted docu introduces fest and TV auds to the scarcity and increased privatization of Earth’s life source (without encouraging those auds to invest in water stocks), it’ll be a success.

Narrated intensely by Malcolm McDowell, pic opens with a sepia-toned scene, set in 1906, of a gold-seeking Mexican man stumbling toward California in his seventh day without agua – this to illustrate that the basic human need for water ought to trump nationality and politics.

Harder-hitting, but relegated to the final reel, is the allegation that Jenna Bush and others in her family have snapped up thousands of acres in Paraguay, believing the country will become the “Middle East of water,” as one talking head puts it.

Tonally erratic editing uses the Bolivian popular uprising against water-hoarding multinational Bechtel and the World Bank twice — once to lend despair (innocent people were killed), and secondly for climactic uplift (the people were ultimately victorious).

More smoothly, the film depicts citizen activism against Nestle’s water-pumping in the American Midwest, which has produced alarmingly mixed results. Footage appearing over the end-credit crawl hails the efforts of a third grade anti-Ice Mountain crusader in Michigan.

Tech credits are suitable for smallscreen play.

Blue Gold: World Water Wars

Canada

Production

A Purple Turtle Films production. (International sales: Purple Turtle, Irvine, Calif.) Produced by Sam Bozzo. Executive producers, Mark Achbar, Si Litvinoff. Directed, written, edited by Sam Bozzo, based on the book "Blue Gold: The Fight to Stop the Corporate Theft of the World's Water" by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke.

Crew

Camera (color/B&W, DV), Bozzo; music, Hannes Bertolini, Thomas Aichinger; costume designer, Peiju Liao; sound, Brett Hinton; visual effects, Dan Park. Reviewed on DVD at Vancouver Film Festival (The Ark: Elements & Animals), Oct. 3, 2008. Running time: 90 MIN. Narrator: Malcolm McDowell.

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