Caroline Bâcle / Canada / 2012 / 72 min.
Most metropolises were established within reach of water, in areas interwoven with streams and rivers. But where have they all gone? A group of intrepid waterway explorers try to get to the bottom of the mystery. Equipped with head lamps and fishermen’s boots, they go underground to follow ancient watercourses. Director Caroline Bâcle not only portrays their illegal excursions, but also depicts regional architects, urban ecologists and activists trying to return buried water flows to where they had been since ancient times – on the surface. The film delves underground beneath London, Montreal, Toronto, Seoul and the Italian city of Brescia. The diversion of water underground from the streets – inevitable 100 years ago in light of spreading epidemics, the industrial revolution and growing populations – is now causing problems in most cities. Now congested and polluted, underground sewers prevent rather than facilitate development. This documentary forces audiences to think about the immediate surroundings we as humans created. It also poses questions about where nature ends and the city begins and whether such boundaries should even exist.