Secret of Water might be a great film to watch if you’re high. The meandering, non-narrative documentary cuts between digitized representations of molecular energy, super-saturated shots of waterfalls and ebbing tides, and slow-voiced talking heads. In the background, offscreen, water drips and rushes. We hear the trickle of melting snow filling the dry crevices of a stream bed, and rain pounding on a roof. Water, directors Jirka Rysavy and Saida Medvedeva claim, is alive, intuitive, and changing according to the environment and even to mood.
It’s no surprise that the toxins humans produce affect our natural resources, that the pharmaceutical residue we piss out and flush away winds up in the water supply. Dr. Masaru Emoto of Japan, whose philosophies the film highlights, claims that the sharp turns modern plumbing forces aren’t natural, and as a result diminish water’s energy, purity, and healthfulness. Even this makes a sort of intuitive sense; cramped urban living is bad for all kinds; it’s notable that a tree grows in Brooklyn. Unfortunately, Dr. Emoto’s research comes off as absurd.
He’s investigating whether the form of water crystals indicates their health and happiness by playing classical music for water and recording how the crystals change shape. You’ve got to pity the grad students tasked with looping Beethoven for a beaker of H2O. Rysavy and Medvedeva further undermine their point by presenting a film with the production quality of a high school science-class video, all grainy interviews and shoddy CGI representations of land erosion over millennia.
It’s laugh-out-loud silly if you’re in the mood, but mostly embarrassing. Science could certainly use more philosophy, but not at the expense of dignity, never mind common sense.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 18, 2015