About “Les Eaux Cachées”

Water is the wisdom with which the trees birth their small flowers.

As water is perhaps the most essential compound for life to exist, understanding its effect on human history is also essential in understanding contemporary societies, cultures, and the places we have fashioned for ourselves to dwell in. Water is not only interesting from the point of view of development (the importance of which cannot be overstated), but also from the point of view of urban culture. What urban practices to we owe to this resource? How is water bound with spirituality, labor, and aesthetics? In the Fez medina one finds a dense medieval urban tissue where all of these categories of analysis are observable.

Whether we drink it, use it to wash our clothes, or use it as a symbol in esoteric rituals, water has made an enormous impact on our cultures. Its scarcity in some places today, and mismanagement or abuse of water in others both present real challenges to human progress. However, to communicate this problem to increasingly interconnected publics, perhaps focusing on water’s cultural and ritual value rather than the broad systemic problems facing it is a better approach to saving this vital resource. Perhaps giving water cultural value through film and other art forms is a better way to encourage sustainable practice.

‘Les eaux cachées’ aims to tell the story of Fez’s waters, the cultural practices surrounding them, and those who aim to save it for future generations.


2 thoughts on “About “Les Eaux Cachées”

  1. This sounds really good Joe. I think the treatment of contemporary water provision is important. You should look at water policy, the building of dams (there is a huge barrage on the way to Taza) and the widespread reliance on public fountains. Insufficient drainage causes rising damp – and ultimately the collapse of the system.

    Another good angle is water and fun – the hot springs at Moulay Yaacoub, the rather cooler springs at Sidi Harazem.

    Best of luck with the project.

  2. Aubrey says:


    This looks great. I am the newsdesk editor for Circle of Blue, a nonprofit journalism organization reporting the water crisis. Would be great, if possible, to connect and get the word out with a story on Fez’s water situation. Lots of ways to do this: for example, check out our site links below — sometimes we write film reviews, sometimes we interview film directors, and sometimes directors let us promo trailers and/or scenes from the film on our site.

    1. Interview: http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/2010/world/qa-crude-director-joe-berlingers-take-on-chevron-in-the-ecuadorian-amazon/
    2. Review: http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/2008/science-tech/climate/flow-documentary-humanizes-international-water-politics/
    3. Video: http://www.circleofblue.org/waternews/2010/world/video-invasion-of-the-asian-carp-from-the-waterlife-documentary/

    I just promo-ed your kickstarter page on our Facebook (2400 followers) and our Twitter page (almost 3900 followers)…hope it helps! http://www.facebook.com/circleofblue and http://twitter.com/#!/circleofblue

    Please check us out and see if there is a way to collaborate…

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