This film is a journey along the three routes that trace the path of the most important water transfer project in the world, stretching between the south and the north of China. By travelling across the country, from the developed eastern coast to the uninhabited mountains of Tibet, it is possible to understand the consequences of the project, which is completed in the east, still under construction in the centre, and under study in the west. So many steps along the way, along diverted rivers and half-finished canal projects; a way of grasping the metamorphosis of a landscape transfigured by human needs. An interrogation into the inevitability of this transformation, the story of South North Water Displace will also be a universal one. An immersion into the troubled waters of astonishment and disenchantment with the world.
The film examines the relationship between humans and nature; landscapes shaped by engineers who exert their power over land, who work carefully to assure control and yield. It observes the advanced decomposition of the landscape, and more widely, that of ideals and progress. It shows how a civilisation seeks to inscribe, into the earth and landscape itself, the imprint of its supposed greatness.
By following this struggle against nature, Antoine Boutet wishes to grasp the realities ofaworld being swallowed up in its own desires, along artificial waterways and ancestral rivers that, by political will and ideological blindness, are being transformed into economic and social laboratories that will exist for years to come. As the film progresses we are able to follow the transformation of water, from its source to treatment centres. We will also discover how earth, sand and rock are transformed into cement, into concrete, into canals. While matter decomposes, the landscape as a whole recomposes itself, caught between dust and water.
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