Jennifer Baichwal & Edward Burtynsky
Soda Pictures

A human is 65 per cent water. There’s a similar correlation with our planet. But it’s running out and we are to blame. Watermark offers up a warning to mankind from the natural world: don’t throw away this resource and don’t take it for granted. Like Godfrey Reggio’s Qatsi series and the films of Ron Fricke (Baraka, Samsara) this red-flag-flying documentary presents a world out of balance and sets paradisiacal images against shocking footage of the worst scenes of pollution.

One sequence sees a family bathing in what can only be described as liquid filth. Yet in the world of the poor sometimes water is all one can cling to for life. When it is poisoned – and progress, big business and industry are to blame – it acts as a cacophonous alert for this global crisis.

Protecting the rain forest is all very well, but the squandering and contamination of our most vital earthly resource is a more pressing problem. Watermark communicates this urgency without the need for strident, over-the-top message-making; however, it still leaves the mouth dry.

Tony Earnshaw