Aquarela Blu-ray Review

  • Director: Victor Kossakovsky
  • Writers: Victor Kossakovsky, Aimara Reques
  • Producers: Aimara Reques, Heino Deckert, Sigrid Dyekjær
  • Disc Format: Subtitled
  • Language: Russian
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Region: Region A/1 
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: 
     Parental Guidance Suggested
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • Release Date: November 12, 2019
  • Run Time: 90 minutes

        Less of a documentary and more of a soundscape film in the tradition of the Quatsi trilogy, and the other films by Godfrey Reggio and Ron Fricke, Aquarela is a distinct cinematic experience. Sequences are linked thematically by spectacular high definition photography, careful editing, and a mood-inducing score. But while the Quatsi trilogy often considered the impact of human development, Aquarela remains solely interested in the terrifying power and simultaneous beauty of nature.

        Director Victor Kossakovsky travels around the world to film water in many forms, shot without narration or explanation in spectacular high definition. I believe the film begins in Russia, but there is so little information that locations are not even disclosed when moving from one sequence to the next. Cars have a bad habit of falling through the ice on the frozen Lake Baikal, starting the film off with one of the most harrowing sequences. We also travel down the streets of Miami in the middle of Hurricane Irma, watching the destructive force of the water once it has melted, and every stage between in the ocean. Some of the scenes are just of waves crashing, and somehow that is never boring to watch.

         It is possible to read the film as subtle commentary on climate change, particularly with the only dialogue in the film occurring in the first sequence when a man discusses the time of year that the ice normally melts as he stands beside his partially submerged vehicle. As the film progresses, we move from melting ice sequences to ones which display the magnificent and often terrifying power of water. On the other hand, it is also possible to read the movie that goes no deeper than the power and beauty of nature. Either way you interpret it, I find the impressiveness of Kossakovsky’s filmmaking difficult to deny.

        The Blu-ray release for Aquarela comes with no special features beyond a few trailers for other films. At the same time, I would never suggest this film on Blu-ray for the special features it has to offer as much as the high definition presentation of spectacular nature photography. At the same time, I did look to see if there were extras to give me context behind the film and the director’s intent. Although it was not needed some type of behind-the-scenes featurette is missed.

Entertainment Value: 7/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 8.5/10
Historical Significance:  6/10
Special Features: 0/10

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