Co-directed by Canadian filmmaker Jennifer Baichwal and art photographer Edward Burtynsky, Watermark is the companion documentary to the touring Edward Burtynsky: Water photography exhibition presented locally at the Contemporary Arts Center late last year. Like that exhibition, Watermark is all about perspective, often using aerial photography to find the beautiful, often geometric shapes created by the industrial use of water across the globe before moving in closer to reveal the environmental devastation that often results from those practices. The film is intentionally impressionistic, occasionally including brief interview material with scientists or local workers to illuminate complex issues but relying more on striking images to make its case. The result is a powerful hybrid of visual art and documentary filmmaking, and one that sends a clear message about the perils of environmental mismanagement and the steep price we may soon pay for not protecting our most precious natural resource. — KEN KORMAN
Watermark begins an exclusive run today, Friday, May 9, at Zeitgeist Movies.