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BMZ Review: Hurricane on the Bayou
By Ann Coates


Photo courtesy MacGillivray Freeman Films

Hurricane on the Bayou
Written by: Ann Coates
Source: Big Movie Zone
Date: May 2, 2007


Category: Reviews

Originally, Hurricane on the Bayou set out to document the wetlands and its necessary conservation should a Hurricane ever hit the South.  The real-life tragedy of Hurricane Katrina brought an ominous tone to the film -- instead of showing what could have happened, the film reveals what did happen in all its devastation.  Produced by MacGillivray Freeman Films and directed by Large Format vet Greg MacGillivray, Bayou returned to the ravaged South for additional shooting, but brought back some hope for the future as well.

Filmed in Louisiana, the film follows fiddle prodigy Amanda Shaw and guitarist/wetlands activist Tab Benoit.  Much of the film is not only spent on the subject of wetlands, but with the musicians of the South who tell their own stories of displacement and recovery.  Although narrated by Meryl Streep, the audience is mostly escorted by these musicians through the disappearing wetlands.  We learn the wetlands had been a natural protection for New Orleans from hurricanes, a "speed bump" where the acres of wetlands would increasingly curb the strength of a storm.  The scale of the IMAX screen reveals the breadth of the vanishing ecosystem as a region of dead trees fill the screen.

Turning to Katrina, the film contains some decent CG images of the hurricane as it occurs interspersed with local news broadcasts.  Following the sequence, the film captures the ruined New Orleans through use of aerial shots, more so effective and somber when viewed in such a huge scale.  Focusing on the wetlands, rather than the breaking of the levees, Bayou offers another perspective to how and why such a massive storm occurred.  Though not much attention has been given to the saving of the wetlands post-Katrina, the film exposes how its conservation is truly necessary and urgent.

Bayou progresses quickly through, touching upon the wetlands, the hurricane, the devastation and the personal loss of the musicians featured.  With so many subjects to focus on, the film conveys an uneasy mix of narratives.  Despite the bleakness of these tragedies, the film also communicates some answers on how to restore the wetlands.  Like the alligators of the Bayou who were once endangered and are now recovering, the film extends such optimism to the restoration of New Orleans and its wetlands.

Movie Reviews by Ann Coates

Amazing Mighty Micro Monsters
A Beautiful Planet
Asteroid: Mission Extreme
National Parks Adventure
Wild Africa
Living in the Age of Airplanes
Journey to Space
Humpback Whales 3D
Robots 3D
Antarctica: On The Edge
The Great Apes 3D
Dark Universe
Tiny Giants 3D
Antarctica's Penguin Emperors 3D
Galapagos 3D: Nature's Wonderland
Walking with Dinosaurs: Prehistoric Planet 3D
Penguins 3D
Space Junk 3D
Dinosaur Passage to Pangaea
Flying Monsters 3D
Rescue (3D)
Cosmic Journey: Through Hubble and Cassini
Born to Be Wild
My Dream 3D
The Little Prince
Tornado Alley
Waking the T. Rex: The Story of Sue 3D
Magic Journey to Africa (3D)
Furusato: World Heritage Sites Viewed from Space
Legends of Flight 3D
Inception: The IMAX Experience
Arabia 3D
The Wildest Dream: Conquest of Everest
Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey
The Ultimate Wave Tahiti 3D
Avatar: An IMAX 3D Experience
Molecules to the MAX!
Monsters vs. Aliens: An IMAX 3D Experience
Under the Sea 3D
Van Gogh: Brush With Genius
Journey to Mecca: In the Footsteps of Ibn Battuta
Mysteries of the Great Lakes
The Dark Knight: The IMAX Experience
Grand Canyon Adventure: River at Risk (3D)
Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure (3D/2D)
Dinosaurs: Giants of Patagonia (3D/2D)
Dinosaurs Alive! (3D/2D)
The Alps
Hurricane on the Bayou
Ride Around the World
Greece: Secrets of the Past
Wired to Win: Surviving the Tour de France
Deep Sea (3D/2D)
Vikings: Journey to New Worlds
Mystic India
Fighter Pilot: Operation Red Flag

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