Trouble the Water Vividly Mixes Katrina, Race

Documentary traces one couple's story through New Orleans disaster
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 21, 2008 5:50 PM CDT
'Trouble the Water' follows a New Orleans couple through Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath %u2014 with much of the footage shot on the woman's camcorder.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) Trouble the Water, a new documentary, is ostensibly about Hurricane Katrina, centered around home-video footage shot during the disaster by a resident of New Orleans’ Ninth Ward. But the film, which frames Kimberly Roberts’ footage within a larger context, transcends that one event to put forth a peerless discussion of race in America, Andrew O’Hehir writes in Salon.

Roberts, not Katrina, is in fact the real subject of Trouble the Water. As a self-described occasional drug dealer, people like her are generally understood in the abstract: victim or perpetrator, a symptom of racism. “It was hard to imagine anyone sitting through this film without feeling overwhelmed by great grief and great joy,” O’Hehir writes, “and without being humbled by a sudden awareness of one's own prejudices about the lives, passions and dreams of poor people.”