Critically important, global in scope and more than a little dry, "Flow" paints a dire picture of the world's supply of water.

Critically important, global in scope and more than a little dry, “Flow” paints a dire picture of the world’s supply of water — it’s disappearing, and what’s left is being privatized. But while she tells us quite clearly that the world’s en route to hell in a drought-stricken hand-basket, helmer Irena Salina knows well enough to end her story with the activists and organization that are working toward free and better H2O. So viewers who eventually see “Flow” on TV won’t want to jump out the window.

Salina follows a basic formula — interviews, nature shots, shots of water, shots of more water, graphics and subtitles. She gives us crises in Bolivia — where slaughterhouse runoff turns the river red — and India, where the water of the sacred Ganges is being stolen. All of Salina’s interviews and data tell a graphic story about corporate water piracy, the complicity of governments, the burden put on the poor and the scam of bottled water (most of which is far less regulated than tap water, and often is tap water). But she can’t quite jam it all in and still have a film that, well, flows.

Flow

Production

A Steven Starr Prods. presentation in association with the Group Entertainment. Produced by Starr. Executive producers, Stephen Nemeth, Caroleen Feeney, Lee Jaffe, Augusta Brown Holland, Brent Meikle, Cornalia Meikle, Hadley Meikle. Co-producers, Gill Holland, Yvette Tomlinson. Directed by Irena Salina.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Pablo de Selva, Salina; editors, Caitlin Dixon, Madeleine Gavin, Andrew Monshein; music Christophe Julien. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (competing). Jan. 21, 2008. Running time: 83 MIN.

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