Aquarela: the power of water

Aquarela: the power of water

Viktor Kossakovsy's extraordinary film Aquarela leaves us in no doubt that the earth's most precious element is a capricious force we humans have no control over. Starring water and about water, it takes us on a journey from Russia's frozen Lake Baikal to Miami in the throes of Hurricane Irma to Venezuela's mighty Angel Falls

By Ajay Duggal
Melting ice caps pose huge danger to people living on low lying land

Renowned cinematographer and film-maker Viktor Kossakovsy's Aquarela is shot at a rare 96 frames-per-second. It's a beautiful and sometimes terrifying journey around the world with its star, water, that precious commodity we cannot live without.

Were you to start watching Aquarela with your eyes shut, you wouldn't realise that the sounds you were hearing -  an eerie short, sharp metallic crackling - were the noises ice sheets make as they melt. This film is enlightening, both a visual delight and a disturbing indictment about the climate crisis.

The film studies bodies of water around the world, water and ice in different weathers. Kossakovsky's film opens with a rescue crew salvaging a car that's broken through the ice on Lake Baikal - fortunately the occupants survived.  But soon after we see another car driving across the ice..until the car disappears under it, because the people in it didn't accept that the ice was melting. It's a harrowing scene and one that shows how stupid people are ever to think ice in the bleak midwinter is ever solid as a rock.



Lake Baikal is 395 miles long and a mile deep
The underwater photography is amazing
Miami in a hurricane
The shots out a sea show how brave sailors are
This film is gripping. It shows you landscapes you can't really identify as ice, yet they are. Kossakovsy captures the break-up of the ice shelves and icebergs - the latter resemble whales rising up and descending through the surface of the water. The remarkable underwater scenes show bodies of ice that look like sci-fi spaceships.
Aquarela takes you through the various states of water - ice, floods and hurricanes. There's astonishing footage of a boat caught in massive squalls at sea. The cinematography is nerve-tingling and breathtaking and you wonder how on earth Kossakovsky and his crew survived some of the filming they had to do out in sea so rough you'd think it was computer-generated for a disaster movie. 
This film has no commentary and it's all the better for it because the water provides a riveting soundtrack. One thing: if you want to know all the locations shown in the film you'll have to stay for the closing credits.
FInd out where Aquarela is showing