Video: Trouble the Water [Katrina Documentary]

While Haiti is suffering through the ravages of 4 back-to-back hurricanes/tropical storms, this documentary highlights the difficulties and sometimes gross failures of disaster management and relief in a functioning government.

Duration: 2 min 1 sec

From Manohla Dargis’ review for the NYTimes

If Kimberly Roberts, the dynamo at the center of the documentary “Trouble the Water,” wasn’t a big woman with a great big mouth, her video images of Hurricane Katrina and the floodwaters that washed away her world in 2005 might have ended up as just another pixelated smear on YouTube. Happily for her and the rest of us, the filmmakers Carl Deal and Tia Lessin, both of whom have done time working with Michael Moore, realized that Ms. Roberts was a dream of a documentary subject. She didn’t just fill the frame with her outsize personality and outlaw swagger, she also shook it up with raw images of snatched, saved and lost lives.

Ms. Roberts didn’t wait out the storm from her home in the Lower Ninth Ward; she chased it. Roaming her neighborhood on foot and bicycle, she videotaped the gathering dark clouds and her stranded neighbors with a newly bought camera, watching with mounting concern as the drizzle grew into a deluge. Her rough, untutored camerawork has an ugliness and urgency that only add to the escalating sense of chaos and unease. As her sightlines roughly shift from one fugitive image to the next — wary adults, giggly children, nervous dogs, a stop sign that will soon be almost entirely under water — you can feel the pressure of the moment. Excitement courses through her free-ranging chatter and the palsied, swerving visuals.

Trouble the Water
Surviving Katrina With a Big Personality and a Video Camera [NYTimes review]

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Haiti hurricane update from our staff on the ground