DARWIN’S NIGHTMARE, a clear-eyed examination
of the underbelly of globalization, screened at this year’s
New Directors/New Films Festival and was named Best Documentary
at SilverDocs and the European Film Awards.
Feeling more like sci-fi/horror than documentary, DARWIN’S
NIGHTMARE is the stranger-than-fiction tale of two relentless
killing machines: the Nile Perch which, over the course of a few
decades, ate through everything that used to live in Tanzania's
Lake Victoria; and the foreign capitalists who introduced that non-native
fish in order to sell it to European consumers. Losing out to both
of these were the local Tanzanians who once lived off the lake's
bounty, and now, literally, are left with bones and rotting carcasses.
When things take an even stranger turn, thanks to an astounding
third-act revelation, the relentlessness becomes a cautionary tale
it may not be too late to heed.
Director Hubert Sauper has been making award-winning documentaries
for the last twelve years. Born in Austria, he now lives and teaches
in Paris. “The old question, which social and political structure
is the best for the world, seems to have been answered,” he
observes. “The ultimate forms for future societies are ‘consumer
democracies,’ which are seen as ‘civilized’ and
‘good.’ In a Darwinian sense the ‘good system’
won. It won by either convincing its enemies or eliminating them.
In DARWIN’S NIGHTMARE, I tried to transform the bizarre
success story of a fish and the ephemeral boom around this ‘fittest’
animal into an ironic, frightening allegory for what is called the
New World Order. I could make the same kind of movie in Sierra Leone,
only the fish would be diamonds, in Honduras, bananas, and in Libya,
Nigeria or Angola, crude oil.”
"An extraordinary work of visual journalism,
a richly illustrated report on a distant catastrophe that is also
one of the central stories of our time. Indispensable documentary.
A Work of art."-- A.O. Scott, The New York Times
“Hubert Sauper's staggering documentary
is essential viewing on the survival of two ruthlessly fittest species:
the Nile perch, which quickly annihilated almost all other fish
life in Tanzania's Lake Victoria after its artificial introduction
in the '60s, and the omnivorous beast known as winner-take-all global
capitalism.” —Jessica Winter, Village Voice
"A fascinating cautionary tale in the
guise of a documentary showing how, in the age of globalization,
things can evolve in the worst possible of unforeseen ways. Witty,
incisive, heart-breaking, angry, shocking, and very imaginative."
– Time Out UK
“A biting allegory … of greed,
opportunism and First World indifference toward the Third World.
Fascinatingly detailed and enriched by the candor and dignity of
its subjects. A lucid picture of the ugly realities of the economic
food chain. "Survival of the fittest" here takes on a
new, uneasy meaning.” -- David Rooney, Variety
Documentary - European Film Awards
Documentary – Silverdocs
Prize - Environmental Film Festival Paris
Film Festival - Europa Cinemas Jury Award
Film Board Doc Award – Montreal New Fest
Film – Copenhagen Dox
Directors New Films, New York
International Film Festival