Previously at the ICA - Films
25 Oct 2007
Commissioned by director Terrence Malick, Laura Dunn's debut documentary takes a refreshingly lyrical approach to an urgent issue - the increasing pressure placed upon the natural environment by rampant real estate and industrial planning. Although Dunn is clearly addressing the problem globally, her film zeroes in on one specific story and location - the proposed development of the beloved Barton Springs watering hole in Austin, Texas, by a former local farm boy-turned-property developer Gary Bradley. His plans sparked a strong populist campaign of environmental activism that, although successful up to a point, failed to make headway within the state legislature once George W. Bush took control (stirring archive footage chronicles this ultimately heartbreaking standoff). However, Dunn avoids direct finger pointing or easy point scoring. For instance, her interview with Bradley himself allows unexpectedly complex motivations to surface, adding to the already strong current of human feeling running through what could have been a dry, familiar screed. Beautiful underwater and aerial photography, Malick-styled poetic voiceover and music from Arvo Pärt and Sigur Ros may encourage a meditative response at times, but never to a point where you can ignore the overall urgency of the message that Dunn delivers.
Dir Laura Dunn, USA 2007, 93 mins