Saturday, August 30, 2008
Trouble the Water
Sundance Grand Jury Prize Winner for Best Documentary, Trouble the Water, is currently in limited release. Kimberly Rivers Roberts and her husband Scott, residents of New Orleans' lower 9th Ward, were there when Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. Kimberly got a video camera shortly before, and she documented what happened to them. I just saw the film, and it's powerful stuff. Here's the trailer:
The film intercuts Kim Roberts' footage with news footage from the time, and the filmmakers film the Roberts throughout their long trek, checking in with them periodically up to roughly the present. The government indifference and incompetence on display is infuriating. The 9/11 calls, and other moments, are heart-breaking. But there are also some pretty inspiring moments, too — from the Roberts, from the people they huddle in an attic with as the water rises in their homes, from a heroic neighbor. The survivors have been treated very poorly, but they're very appreciative toward the National Guard when they finally show up, and they buoy each other through camaraderie, faith, humor, and in at least one case, music. There are too many striking moments to name them all, and I wouldn't want to spoil them, but two involve the camera just staying on Kimberly – recovering a photo from their devastated home, and performing a rap she's recorded.
The site for the film lists theaters that are or will be showing it. It also has links to organizations working to rebuild New Orleans. NPR's Morning Edition interviewed Kim Roberts, and David Edelstein has a good film review. Check out the film if you can. And especially given how bad things already are, here's hoping that Gustav doesn't make them much worse.
(Cross-posted at The Blue Herald)