Trouble the Water

So better late than never.
I keep watching these docs that are a couple of years old.
But at least I am watching them.

Tonight I checked out Trouble the Water.

Nominated for an Academy Award® for best feature documentary, TROUBLE THE WATER takes you inside Hurricane Katrina in a way never before seen on screen. It’s a redemptive tale of two self-described street hustlers who become heroes-two unforgettable people who survive the storm and then seize a chance for a new beginning.

The film opens the day before the storm makes landfall-twenty-four year old aspiring rap artist Kimberly Rivers Roberts is turning her new video camera on herself and her 9th Ward neighbors trapped in the city. “It’s going to be a day to remember,” Kim declares. With no means to leave the city and equipped with just a few supplies and her hi 8 camera, she and her husband Scott tape their harrowing ordeal as the storm rages, the nearby levee breaches, and floodwaters fill their home and their community. Shortly after the levees fail, their battery dies.

Seamlessly weaving 15 minutes of this home movie footage shot the day before and the morning of the storm with archival news segments and verite footage shot over the next two years, directors Tia Lessin and Carl Deal tell a story of remarkable people surviving not only failed levees, bungling bureaucrats and armed soldiers, but also their own past.

Directed and produced by Tia Lessin and Carl Deal and Executive Produced by Joslyn Barnes and Danny Glover of Louverture Films, edited and co-produced by T. Woody Richman, with addiitonal editing by Mary Lampson, Trouble the Water features an original musical score by Neil Davidge and Robert Del Naja of Massive Attack, and the music of Dr. John, Mary Mary, Citizen Cope, TK Soul, John Lee Hooker, and the Free Agents Brass Band and introduces the music of Black Kold Madina.

The more I read and see about Katrina, the more in awe I become. It also makes me want to learn more about it and the more I seem to learn the more upsetting it gets. Movies like this put real faces on the events and I found Kim and Scott Rivers to be pretty amazing people. Not only did they survive it, but they don’t appear to be broken as a result. Times where I have zero doubt I would lose my patience under the circumstances and impossible conditions of dealing wit a negligent and uncaring government, they retained their dignity and self-respect never stooping to the levels I wanted to even watching from the comfort of my own living room.

I give Kim credit for having the foresight to be taping everything. I give the producers of the documentary credit for showing the human sides of the Rivers and not condoning or denying their character flaws, but by also not turning them into caricatures. The filmmakers also did not miss small but important details that while are not central, are still integral to the story are nonetheless important to the Rivers and what it say about the treatment of the victims of that city and the hurricane. This is a story that should not only be told, but a story that should be heard.

Well done.