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Trouble the Water

Down at the Paramount, this year's World Cinema Showcase has just ended.  Sixteen features, just one with a woman writer/director, Joanna Hogg's Unrelated. I'm sad I missed Unrelated; I don't want to miss a single opportunity to see a film a woman's written and directed, because I think about how we work, all the time at the moment. Jenny Lumet wrote the screenplay for another Showcase film, Rachel Getting Married. Women co-writers on Quiet Chaos. Fugitive Pieces came from a novel a woman wrote. Missed all those, too.

But I got to Trouble the Water last night and am so glad I did. I haven't seen Age of Stupid yet. But reading about it and watching the making-of doco, and feeling proud that New Zealand woman Lizzie Gillett produced Age of Stupid, I've tried to imagine how things might be here because of climate change. How I might cope in a climate disaster. Always a possibility in this wild and windy city, at the edge of a little Pacific island.

If you haven't seen it, Trouble the Water's a grim and inspiring story from New Orleans' Ninth Ward during Hurricane Katrina. Kimberly Rivers Roberts and Scott Roberts filmed their neighbourhood as people prepared to leave (there's several wonderful sequences shot by one of them riding a very squeaky bike). They then took refuge in their attic, were rescued by a neighbour, and eventually left town. 

Watching Trouble the Water I learned that I'll have to up my compassion quotient. I thought Kimberly, Scott and their friends were amazing and generous and resilient and funny while experiencing a terrible event and its terrible aftermath. What heroes. They inspired me to practise being a little kinder and to laugh more, because they showed me how much kindness and laughter—and patience—are survival skills.  I'm glad I've been warned.

I think I'll start my kindness with the neighbourhood cats and dogs. No more hissing or shouting when one of them befouls the silver beet or the strawberry bed. It's easy to leave some apples for the birds. I'm so glad their summer absence is over. It's easy to shift a stick insect from one leaf to another less risky. To welcome a spider onto the kitchen window, to take another to a safer space than the laundry basket. To share Uncle Bob's bean seeds, the Italian parsley seeds, even the night scented stock seeds.  But could I offer one of those cats a sardine? Some water to that big and roaming dog? Time to find out, now.

Read about producer Tia Lessin here.

See the trailer here.

"It's not about a hurricane. It's about America.", says the poster. I think it's about all of us.


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