Viktor Kossakovsky, Germany, UK, 2019o


The Russian director Viktor Kossakovsky has already realised several unusual documentary film projects since the 1990s. Here's his attempt to do filmic justice to the elemental force of water in all its manifestations on our planet. From Lake Baikal to the oceans and a tropical storm, the journey leads to the waterfall wonders of the rainforest, sometimes the most modern high-speed camera technology is used, sometimes Kossakovsky just watches the strange human activity on the waterfront with composure. In the hustle and bustle of everyday cinema life, this contemplative gaze lacked the peace and quiet, now is the time for it.

Aquarela matches sincere, open-eyed curiosity about the wider world to awe-inspiring technical virtuosity in realizing it [...] Among its other virtues, Aquarela serves as a persuasive showcase for the sensory merits of high-frame-rate lensing. [...] Kossakovsky and his fellow cinematographer Ben Bernhard don’t merely rely on the technology to do all the startling, however, as they jointly compose their images with a keen eye for texture, color and contrast: There’s as much wonder here in the close-up ombré of blues on an iceberg’s underside as in the film’s more literally thundering setpieces. (Excerpt)

Guy Lodge

Victor Kossakovsky will in Aquarela weder trauern noch predigen. Er habe dem Wasser eine Stimme geben wollen, sagt der russische Regisseur. Das ist auf überwältigende Weise gelungen. Hätte das Element selbst ein Porträt von sich in Auftrag geben können, es sähe womöglich aus wie Aquarela. (Auszug)

Martina Knoben

Si l’ambition expérimentale du film a de quoi sidérer, l’exploit de Kossakovsky est sans doute celui-ci : trouver une forme dramaturgique avec laquelle investir une matière primitive, dénuée de langage, pour articuler un récit dont la trame se limite ainsi aux surgissements de phénomènes sans auteur ni témoin.

Sandra Onana

Victor Kossakovsky célèbre l'eau sous toutes ses formes. Si Aquarela est aussi magnétique malgré son aridité, c’est précisément parce qu'il porte en lui la définition du film crépusculaire. C’est-à-dire celui qui a su fixer le moment où la beauté se meurt.

Ludovic Béot

Mais quand il filme les glaciers qui se disloquent et nous fait entendre le bruit de la mer qui tremble, Victor Kossakovsky réussit son pari de poème visuel, liquide et sensoriel, dédié au maître russe Sokurov.

Frédéric Strauss


Variety, 8/31/2018
All rights reserved Variety. Provided by Variety Archiv
Slant Magazine, 8/11/2019
All rights reserved Slant Magazine. Provided by Slant Magazine Archiv
Indiewire, 8/14/2019
All rights reserved Indiewire. Provided by Indiewire Archiv
Vox, 8/26/2019
All rights reserved Vox. Provided by Vox Archiv
epd Film, 11/21/2019
All rights reserved epd Film. Provided by epd Film Archiv
All rights reserved Süddeutsche Zeitung. Provided by Süddeutsche Zeitung Archiv
cineuropa, 2/21/2022
All rights reserved cineuropa. Provided by cineuropa Archiv
Libération, 2/3/2020
All rights reserved Libération. Provided by Libération Archiv
Victor Kossakovsky: The 1st Rule of Filmmaking (Masterclass)
Victor Kossakovsky / IDFA
en / 5/24/2011 / 8‘51‘‘

Schätze der Welt: Der Baikalsee
de / 5/31/2016 / 14‘45‘‘

The History of Frame Rate for Film
/ Filmmaker IQ
en / 2/1/2015 / 15‘20‘‘

Movie Datao

Running time
90 Min.
Original languages
English, Spanish, Russian
ØYour rating6.6/10
IMDB user:
6.6 (1479)
< 10 votes
< 3 votes q

Cast & Crewo

Viktor KossakovskyDirected by
Aimara RequesScreenplay
Viktor KossakovskyScreenplay


Victor Kossakovsky: The 1st Rule of Filmmaking (Masterclass)
IDFA, en , 8‘51‘‘
Schätze der Welt: Der Baikalsee
SWR, de , 14‘45‘‘
The History of Frame Rate for Film
Filmmaker IQ, en , 15‘20‘‘
Review Variety
Guy Lodge
Review Slant Magazine
Keith Watson
"Aquarela": Inside the Most Dangerous Documentary Ever Made
Indiewire / Anne Thompson
Interview with director Victor Kossakovsky
Vox / Alissa Wilkinson
Review epd Film
Ulrich Sonnenschein
Review Süddeutsche Zeitung
Martina Knoben
Review cineuropa
Kaleem Aftab
Review Libération
Sandra Onana
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