*Dok.Fest Münich (Germany)
* IDFA (Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
* DocPoint – Helsinki Documentary Film Festival (Finland)
* Festival dei Popoli (Firenze, Italy)
* DOXA Documentary Film Festival (Vancouver, BC, Canada)
* Planet in Focus Film Festival (Toronto, Canada)
* Festival International du Film Francophone de Namur (Belgium)
* Millenium International Documentary Film Festival (Bruxelles, Belgium)
* Punto de Vista Documentary Film Festival (Pamplona, Spain)
* Pravo Ljudski Human Rights Film Festival (Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina)
* FIFE - Festival International du Film d’Environnement (Paris, France)
* Centre Phi (Montréal, Canada)
* Ecofalante Environmental Film Festival (São Paulo, Brazil)
* UK Green Film Festival (London, UK)
* Viennale (Austria)
* Subversive Film Festival (Zagreb, Croatia)
* FIDOCS (Santiago, Chile)
* Milano Design Film Festival (Italy)
* FOKAL - Fondation Connaissance et libertés (Haïti)
* Bangalore International Film Festival (India)
* Journées SIA (Vaud, Switzerland)
* Let’s Talk About Water (The Netherlands)

South to North

Category |Environment, Human Rights, Social Issues
Year | 2014
Country | France
Running time | 109'
Format | DCP, dvd blu ray, video, hd, quicktime
Production | Les Films du Présent, Sister Productions
Director | Antoine Boutet

This film is a journey along the three routes that trace the path of the most important water transfer project in the world, stretching between the south and the north of China. By travelling across the country, from the developed eastern coast to the uninhabited mountains of Tibet, it is possible to understand the consequences of the project, which is completed in the east, still under construction in the centre, and under study in the west. So many steps along the way, along diverted rivers and half-finished canal projects; a way of grasping the metamorphosis of a landscape transfigured by human needs. An interrogation into the inevitability of this transformation, the story of South North Water Displace will also be a universal one. An immersion into the troubled waters of astonishment and disenchantment with the world.

The film examines the relationship between humans and nature; landscapes shaped by engineers who exert their power over land, who work carefully to assure control and yield. It observes the advanced decomposition of the landscape, and more widely, that of ideals and progress. It shows how a civilisation seeks to inscribe, into the earth and landscape itself, the imprint of its supposed greatness.

By following this struggle against nature, Antoine Boutet wishes to grasp the realities ofaworld being swallowed up in its own desires, along artificial waterways and ancestral rivers that, by political will and ideological blindness, are being transformed into economic and social laboratories that will exist for years to come. As the film progresses we are able to follow the transformation of water, from its source to treatment centres. We will also discover how earth, sand and rock are transformed into cement, into concrete, into canals. While matter decomposes, the landscape as a whole recomposes itself, caught between dust and water.


PRESS IMAGES: (click to preview)




Antoine Boutet, writer & director
Antoine Boutet lives and works in Bordeaux (France), even though his recent projects have seen him spend months at a time in China or the remote corners of the Dordogne. The essential part of his work, primarily using techniques of photography, installation, video is based around urban mutations and its resonances on the population in which we the spectator are invited to (re)consider the political implications.

His video installations or interventions in the public space are occasions to collaborate with urbanists, researchers and the inhabitants. His previous works, in particular Le Plein Pays (2009), have been presented and received awards in international festivals.

Director statement

My documentary work is organised around the visible. The rhythm of the sequences, the shot composition,a minimum of spoken words, and an understanding through image more than explanation. This is what constitutes my visual writing style. Between what we see and how it is presented, I want this film to show quite naturally and clearly the reality of the transformations taking place.

My images refer to notions of infinity and detail, of emptiness and fullness; all characteristics of Chinese pictorial art representing Shanshui (mountain-water), that is, the landscape. The constraints of language and comprehension influence my way of filming; I concentrate on the landscape rather than people, on images rather than words. I favour showing that which, in the context of the surroundings, speaks for itself. This distanced approach presents itself naturally as a counterpoint to the enormity of the Water Transfer Project construction site.

The apparent simplicity of this allows me to describe the essence of a crisis situation; to show, without necessarily explaining. To limit the number of different shots in order to translate the amplitude of the project or the strength of an encounter. And to capture, without pathos, the reality of such an upheaval.