Belle River @ Fantasia Film Festival

This 11 minute short film by directors Guillaume Fournier, Samuel Matteau and Yannick Nolin is the third part of a documentary trilogy. Filmed in Louisiana, it gives us a picture of Acadian culture with a focus on the inhabitants of this area of the state. we see the commonality between the people and the land is that they are both being threatened by climate change.

In 2019 the Mississippi river rose to record levels. As a result, the inhabitants of the Pierre-Part area of New Orleans prepare themselves for flooding. When that happens those in charge open the gates of the Morganza in the hopes of sparing Baton Rouge and New Orleans from being washed away. Uncertainty reigns as the residents try to go on with their lives as best they can.

The bayous of Louisiana have always been places of mystery. People living there, largely of Cajun descent, live a type of off the grid existence filled with minimalist lifestyles, hard work, music, and laughter. Here the visuals and cinematography give you a new appreciation for the rustic beauty of the region. Even in spite of the flooding going on. Poetic in visuals and pacing the trio of directors allow the pictures and the people to tell the tale of this region of Louisiana.

While the short film gives us plenty of beauty and appreciation for life there is also a darker side. the side that is warning us of the impending doom at the hands of climate change that is going to hit hard vulnerable regions and people like the Bayou areas of Louisiana. It also shows how these people, who are trying their best to live a simple life, have been abandoned/forgotten by the authorities. We must remember these people as the climate/flooding is not going to get any better as the planet continues to heat up.

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