Back to our catalogue Download flyer Rus

Living Water

original title: Žít vodu

2020, 52/77 min., color / b&w, English

DOCUMENTARY CATEGORIES : Social / Society / Human, Nature / Environment
COUNTRIES: Switzerland, Czech Republic, Jordan


Director : Screenplay : Veronika Janatková
Cinematographer : Pavel Borecký
Producers : Pavel Borecký and Veronika Janatková in partnership with Art Salam (Paris) with support of Al Jazeera Documentary (Doha)


FESTIVALS: Arica Nativa Festival 2021, CineEco 2021, Seminci 2021 (Climate Change), VISIONI dal MONDO 2021 (International contest) 2021, Nancy International Film Festival – Documentary Competition 2021, :DOKUFEST (Green Dox Competition) 2021, Palić European Film Festival (Eco Documentaries Selection), Ethnocineca 2021, Vision du Réel (National Competition) 2021, CPH:DOX (Science) 2021, Movies that Matter (Earth at Stake) 2021,Ji.hlava IDFF 2020 (Testimonies Competition) 



The vibration of machines echoes across the desert. Ever since Jordanian nomads settled in the spectacular landscape of Wadi Rum, they grew dependent on complex water infrastructure. The source is right below their feet, yet they struggle to meet basic needs.

In the meantime, deep water extraction feeds private large-scale farms, animates visionary development and secures growing urban population. Bedouins, farmers and city dwellers: they all expect to have a fair share, but digging for “blue gold” unleashes environmental timebomb.

Living Water tells the story of power, exploitation and changing ecological circumstances in one of the most water-poor countries in the world.


Moving away from the talking-head style employed by many environmental justice documentaries, Living Water has an interesting mix of intimate interviews and wordless, meditative footage of the Wadi Rum set to an electronic score with Middle Eastern influences.Phuong Le, The Guardian

Borecky set out not just to explore the heightening conflicts over water that starkly illustrate the impacts of climate change but also wanted to raise the bar on environmental documentaries…[…]… For all his devotion to painting the full picture of hyrdrogeology politics and climate catastrophes, Borecky also feels the poetry and sense of eternity in the desert, conveyed effectively via his lyrical imagery of otherworldly red earth settings and the ethereal tones of John Grzinich’s sound mix and Shadi Khries’ score. Screening in the Testimonies section of the Ji.hlava fest, a diverse collection of Czech and international docs taking on issues that “cannot be overlooked,”Will Tizard, Variety 

“Sweeping views of Amman – which would fast become as dry and brittle a ruin as Petra without masses of water extracted from far away – and majestic drone shots over Wadi Rum make for a film of profound beauty that delivers a message with relevance across the globe.”
Nick Holdsworth, Modern Times Review

“La proposition de Pavel Borecký n’est pas celle d’un documentaire-reportage mais celle d’un film dont la conception cinématographique suggestive sert d’écrin à un propos qui au fil de son déroulé devient limpide comme l’eau claire détournée. L’esthétisme visuel et sonore provoque le contraste entre ce que l’on voit, qui est très beau avec ces gouttes d’eau qui perlent, le bruit du goutte-à-goutte qui coule dans cet environnement et ce que l’on sait être aride et exploité.”Malik Berkati, J:MAG

“We always ask the same question – what does the water do in the landscape? Then other questions follow like: who is taking care of the water?”
Whether he is portraying a lone shepherd, a village, a farm or a city, Borecky’s main interest is always in the human relationship with water.
The director acknowledges his debt to sci-fi. “What I like about the connection between science and fiction is that it really pushes the imagination,” he says. In sci-fi, he adds, there is always “this grain of forewarning embedded in our experiences right now. We can recognise ourselves and our imagination and aspirations in science fiction stories, wherever they are set and at whatever moment in history.” – Geoffrey Macnab, Business Doc Europe

“Jordan is one of the driest places on Earth. Access to drinking water is at a premium given the huge (and growing) refugee population, demand from private businesses and rapidly increasing climate change. As the early nomads who roamed the Wadi Rum knew all too well, water availability is not a simple matter. If things continue as they are then their reserves will run out, sooner rather than later. This issue is tackled in Living Water.”Rob Aldam, Backseat Mafia

“…o cineasta envolve especialistas, trabalhadores e moradores na discussão, recorrendo ainda a muitas imagens de arquivo e animações computorizadas para traçar com rigor diversas questões geomorfológicas, económicas, políticas, sociais e ecológicas que ameaçam o futuro do região. Um documento importante e bem concretizado.”Jorge Pereira Rosa, C7NEMA

“Living Water formulates a discourse on the economic, political and environmental issues.”Emilie Bujès, Visions du Réel

“An anthropological field trip to Jordan’s deserts, where a trailer for the future conflicts about the planet’s scarce resources is taking place.”Mads Mikkelsen, CPH:DOX

“A calm and gorgeous look at a very urgent problem”Maarten Stoltz, Movies that Matter