Feature Film: “The Salt in Our Waters”

Salt in our waters screenshot.

The Exploring Risk 2022 Feature Film is “The Salt in Our Waters” by Rezwan Shahriar Sumit.

Set in a tiny mangrove isle in the Bay of Bengal, The Salt in Our Waters is the story of RUDRO (32), a city-raised sculptor who comes to this place, hoping to understand the people and way of life that captivated his coastguard father. He is welcomed by local headman and religious leader, CHAIRMAN (60), and hypnotized by the lowering sky and restless seas of the teeming delta.

He rents a makeshift studio from native fisherman, BASHAR (45), whose children TUNI (19) and TAHER (12) are enchanted by Rudro’s artistry and way of being in the world. With them as guides, Rudro explores this extraordinary land and seascape, which nature both restores and menaces, seeing for himself what motivated his father’s lifetime of work in these waters.

On the first day of fishing season, the men of the village take to their boats, but return with empty nets: the plentiful local Ilish are not to be seen. While Rudro describes climate change as the reason, Chairman blames Rudro’s lifelike sculptures. The devout Muslim villagers call him an idolator and shun him. As Rudro rethinks his plans and choices, Tuni continues to visit and inspire his art. The Ilish finally arrive which persuades the locals to re-think their conclusions about Rudro and their blind allegiance to Chairman.

But when a cyclone’s approach threatens the village, Chairman overplays his hand, demanding the fishermen ignore the storm warnings and return to their boats to recoup earlier losses. Concerned for his friends and neighbors, Rudro inspires a revolt among the fisherman leading to the precautionary evacuation of the village. As a deadly storm threatens this defenseless spit of sand, Rudro finds himself center stage in a primal, elemental conflict between land and sea, man and nature, past and future.