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Trouble the Water

Movie Preview: Trouble the Water

The documentary Trouble the Water was the winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, and the buzz around this movie has continued to build from there. The film centers around Kimberly Rivers Roberts and her boyfriend who were trapped in the Ninth Ward of New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit. Roberts videotaped the the entire ordeal, which was, as you might imagine, horrifying.

The extraordinary footage of the catastrophe aside, what appears to be at the heart of the movie is the additional devastation caused by the government's apparent indifference toward the city's most vulnerable citizens.

It seems like it would be a heart-wrenching film, but I've heard just the opposite. Even the trailer suggests there's something of a life-affirming vibe underneath the telling of this terrible chapter in our recent history.

The movie opens August 22 in L.A. and New York and will have a wider release later. To check out the trailer for yourself,


Photo courtesy of Zeitgeist Films

Join The Conversation
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
Dave you should just call it propaganda, like Micheal Moore movies. Thats 100% accurate.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Their realty is a mockery of true realty. That's what I'm getting at.:oy:
Entertainment Entertainment 9 years
Yes, it's about perception and opinions, and that does not make it a mockumentary. It's not satirical. They're not trying to highlight the absurdity of a topic by making an intentionally "fake" movie. Plenty of documentaries are about opinions — and pretty much all of them feature people talking about their opinions — this doesn't remove them from the documentary genre. Documentary film attempts to "document" reality, and that's what this film is attempting to do. Whether or not you agree with these people, the fact remains that there is video documentation of something that actually happened. A mockumentary is not attempting to document reality. It's a form of fiction. It's not like these people staged a whole hurricane so they could film it, and the people in this film are not actors. There is a huge difference.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Just as long as this movie is presented as perception and opinion, and not fact.
Michelann Michelann 9 years
UnDave, You can have a documentary about perceptions and opinions. It's just documenting perception and opinions. It isn't a 'mockumentary' simply because you don't agree with those opinions. Furthermore, you haven't even seen the movie.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
Definition: fake documentary: a movie or television program shot in the form of a documentary but with fictitious and often satirical subject matter ( informal ) This movie isn't about facts. It's about their perceptions, and therefore is documentary without facts, or is ficticious. The dangerous proposition about this movie is that it is being presented as facts, and laying the full blame on the national government and FEMA. While N.O. mayor, and LA governor get a pass. Why is it that Mississippi got harder hit by the hurricane and got less government aid than N.O. and were doing better after Katrina? It's because their governor and the mayors worked together and got stuff done, instead of complaining that FEMA wasn't here yet.
Entertainment Entertainment 9 years
UnDave — I understand you may not agree with the content of this documentary, but it's not a mockumentary. A mockumentary is a movie that is purposely made to look like a documentary but is intentionally satirical. This film is real footage and the real, earnest attempt of some people who lived through Katrina to express their opinions and to show what their experience was. I think it's disrespectful to call it a "mockumentary," especially when technically, that's incorrect.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I'll agree with you there. No one is blameless, but let's make sure that all levels are given their share. I have a weird feeling that this mockumentary will not adequately do that, because anything that isn't negative Bush administration doesn't sell.
MisterPinkNoTip MisterPinkNoTip 9 years
I agree that local and state governments here in Louisiana have played the blame game, indicting the Federal government. However, I believe that the disasterous response to Katrina was due to failure in ALL levels of government. I think another tragedy stemming from Katrina is the level of inaccurate press coverage of the disaster. I sincerely hope this documentary does not further perpetuate myths about the hurricane and the state of New Orleans today.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
I would also like to add that the local and state government new two very important facts: 1) That N.O. is below sea level. And 2) a major storm was heading their way. They had almost a week to make preparations and get people out. One of the most telling photographs I saw in the aftermath was a parking lot full of (100's of) busses that the government could've used to get people out, almost completely submerged in water, because they did nothing. There is some blame with the way FEMA responded, but the local and state governments deserve the VAST majority of that debacle.
syako syako 9 years
(And also what Dave said)
syako syako 9 years
I was referring to the anecdote the young man said about someone saying they would shoot him if they came to that property.
UnDave35 UnDave35 9 years
The lies lie with the discimination of blame. The local government, and state government did nothing to help the people of N.O., and then tried (successfully, given this mockumentary) to pass the blame on to the US government.
TinkerbellSF TinkerbellSF 9 years
I'm confused about what part of this documentary is the spreading lies part? There's video footage. Of scared people. On the top of roofs of the Ninth Ward with flood waters swirling around them. And then later there's video footage. Of just waiting for someone to help. Help that as we all know from the land of facts comes too late.
syako syako 9 years
From reading your description and watching the trailer I have several problems with this documentary. 1. It seems as if, just like after the storm, it's full of misinformation, lies, and heresay. I lived through Katrina and luckily was not in the city but safely 60 miles away, but all we heard that first few weeks were horror stories and such (much like "we'll shoot you if you come here"). I know that it was the nature of the situation (no infrastructure, no local government, a governor who could only cry and not actually solve problems, no real news media) but it irks me that a documentary would come out and spread/start those lies all over again after which many if not most of them have been debunked. 2. It's a bit presumptuous to say the government was indifferent to people. Like I said before, I lived through this firsthand and agree wholeheartedly that the situation was not handled in an acceptable manner by any level of government but particularly at the state level, imho. I think indifference is too harsh. I think it was more of an unprecedented situation coupled with incompetent leaders on all levels that led to the mishandling and disastrous treatment of the aftermath. Also, I have so many problems with the statement of the woman who wouldn't let her son join the army because the govt "didn't do anything for them." What a terrible lesson and attitude to teach your child. What happened to try to go out and make a difference? Not, sit back and stew because you didn't get what you think you deserved? This whole documentary just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.
nancita nancita 9 years
This looks like a very promising documentary to add to my list. Even the trailer is riveting (as is the soundtrack).
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