Aquarela is by Russian filmmaker Victor Kossakovsky

There is a substance on Earth that predates humans by over 4.5 billion years. This substance comes in many forms and still makes up most of the planet, as well as the living things on it.

In a new documentary, “Aquarela,” Russian filmmaker and director Victor Kossakovsky showcases the power of one of Earth's oldest materials — water. 

Released  Aug. 16, “Aquarela” highlights the strength, beauty and danger of everything from rough seas to melting glaciers. 

Kossakovsky enlists overstimulating visuals and sounds that make the viewer one with the scene. By utilizing first-person filming, drone footage and explosive, stylized music, he creates a tense atmosphere for viewers that simulates the crew’s first-hand experiences.

One of the themes this film validates is the overwhelming power of nature. 

The danger the filmmakers and explorers faced in the making of this film becomes apparent in the first few minutes. Within the opening scene, several terrified, nervous explorers are daring to follow a large crack in the ice across a frozen landscape. As they look down the crevasse they follow, all they can see is a steep drop hundreds of feet down with no visible end. In these slippery conditions, one misstep could lead to a plummeting death.

“Aquarela” is also a warning of climate change. It depicts how changing the Earth’s temperature and polluting can affect ocean water — sometimes in very dangerous ways, such as intense storms and the collapse of colossal icebergs. For example, the breakage in the ice cap in the opening scene is believed to have been caused by rising temperatures in the area resulting in melting ice, according to Kossakovsky. 

Another example of how the film depicts climate change’s effect on the Earth is by showcasing extreme storms over the ocean. According to the film, climate change causes these severe weather conditions to be less predictable and sometimes stronger in nature. There are several gut-wrenching scenes of the camera man bobbing up and down in a tiny boat in the ocean while winds whip around, and the camera continuously and uncontrollably dips into the water. 

This film has it’s viewers on the edge of their seat when a drone catches footage of the team’s van sinking into ice. The crew hits a bump and realizes the ice is not as thick as the members previously thought, and the car nose dives through a sheet of ice and into the water. 

To make matters more daunting, Kossakovsky did not include any disclaimers saying no one was harmed in the making of this film. 

This documentary is a convincing call for help in combating climate change. It illustrates how small humankind is when squaring up with nature, and the result is a combination of thrilling and terrifying cinematography worthy of viewership. Additional information on this film can be found here