Monday, October 11, 2010

Water and cinema..

Recently I came across an article in Newsweek which featured an ongoing race to own up the water reserves in Atlanta. (Thanks to Prof George Easow, for sharing the article).

Although the water reserves like basins are protected under national reserves, the rights to divert water including the ownership of the pipelines and treatment plants are very much privatizable in the western world (not sure of the situation in India - but a movement to open a private bottling plant in the protected forests of Silent Valley points to a similar state of affairs).

View the newsweek report here.
The writer worries about a division of world order according to water haves and water have nots in the future, which may even lead to wars!

The issue of the ownership of natural resources had always captured the attention of imaginative film makers and the most memorable one was Roman Polanskis 1974 noir classic Chinatown. Chinatown explored many themes including the corruption in ownership of land and water rights in the backdrop of a murder mystery.

Recently the Observer magazine voted it as the greatest film ever made.

A fitting tribute to Chinatown was made by Indian film maker Navadeep Singh in his directorial debut Manorama six feet under. Here the mystery unfolds in the background of barren Rajasthani landscapes.

The issue was again taken up in the James Bond flick Quantum of Solace where the sinister villain played by Mathieu Amalric schemes to control the water reserves of Bolivia by financing a coup.

But the most depressing facet of the issue was shown in a disastrous film called Tank Girl. The movie takes place in a dystopian 2033, when water is extremely scarce, and what little is available is controlled by a monopolistic Water & Power Corporation.

Veteran film maker Shekhar Kapur also had plans to make an epic movie on the water wars of the future. Not sure if it was materialised.

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