This winter – with the relentless stormy days and flu/cold season in full swing – it may be an opportune time to stretch out on the couch, grab a blanket and some popcorn, and watch a movie. How about making your next movie binge all about water? Many people are keenly aware of water-related movies such as “Chinatown” or “Cadillac Desert,” but there are many, many others to choose from. Filmmakers have often utilized the precious resource of water and its importance as a central theme in their storylines – and those stories couldn’t be more timely. Whether you’re a fan of westerns, comedies, dramas, or documentaries, take a look at this short list of water films … I think you’ll find one to enjoy if you’re stuck indoors during this wet winter!
King of the Pesos (1936): A John Wayne western, the premise of this movie is the struggle and conflict with western water rights and land.
Chinatown (1974): This Hollywood classic stars Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. It focuses on the “California Water Wars,” portraying the darker side of how Los Angeles obtained water from Owens Valley.
Water (1985): A tiny and impoverished Caribbean island is basically forgotten and not taken care of until an oil well strikes mineral water. Suddenly, Britain, America, Cuba, and France all start fighting for control of the island. This comedy stars Michael Caine.
Tank Girl (1995): Based on a British cult comic, this film features a tank-riding anti-heroine, played by Lori Petty. She’s one of the few survivors on Earth after a catastrophic impact event who fights a mega-corporation called “Water and Power” that dominates the remaining potable water supply on the planet.
Waterworld (1995): Considered a flop when it came out because of the $175 million spent on making this Hollywood extravaganza, Kevin Costner struggles for survival in a post-apocalyptic world where the Earth is flooded and all the land is submerged.
Cadillac Desert (1997): This is a movie for true “water wonks!” It’s one of the most recognized films about Western American water, based on Marc Reisner’s book ‘Cadillac Desert.’ A four-part documentary, the film is all about water, money, and politics, with a segment that focuses on how Los Angeles grew and the water policies involved.
Waterborne (2005): This independent film by Ben Rekhi follows the aftermath of a fictional bio-terrorist attack on the water supply of Los Angeles.
California Water (2006-2008): Comprised of 24 episodes, this series is like taking a road trip through the water veins of California. Production was sponsored by the Association of California Water Agencies and the series took four years to complete. Basically, the series contains everything you could want to know about California water issues. Here’s a link to free on-line access to the episodes: www.acwa.com/content/series-segments.
Flow (2008): This award-winning independent documentary by Irena Salina focuses on the privatization of water and the world water crisis. Including interviews with people who are implementing solutions, it addresses issues related to politics, pollution, human rights, and the emergence of a domineering world water cartel.
Poisoned Waters (2009): This PBS documentary looks at how many of America’s waterways are in jeopardy from pollution and contains numerous interviews with some of the nation’s top environmental experts. View free online at: www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/poisonedwaters.
Last Call at the Oasis (2011): Jessica Yu’s film is a recent documentary about global water issues: water scarcity, climate change, bottled water, water conservation, recycled water, and more. Comedian Jack Black’s trailer for the movie went viral, and helped to bring greater awareness and public acceptance to recycled water.
‘California Colloquium on Water’ (ongoing): For those of you who cannot get enough about water, this series is for you. The Colloquium water website contains over 75 video lectures from scholars of distinction discussing various aspects of water and related issues. This is District General Manager Ron Duncan’s favorite water-related film website. The collection of videos is found free online by searching YouTube for ‘California Colloquium on Water.’
As always, if you have any questions about this month’s topic or anything else related to Soquel Creek Water District, feel free to contact Melanie Mow Schumacher at firstname.lastname@example.org or 831-475-8501 x153 and visit www.soquelcreekwater.org.