Darwin's Nightmare

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Darwin's Nightmare (Le Cauchemar de Darwin)

Directed by Hubert Sauper

  • France, Austria, Belgium 2004; 107 min
  • Original version: English, Russian, Swahili
  • Genre: Documentary
    • Best Film - CPH:DOX
    • Vienna Film Award - Viennale
    • Special Prize, Community Cinema Award, Robert and Frances Flaherty Prize - Yamagata IDF
    • Label Europa Cinemas - Venice IFF
    • FIPRESCI Prize - Sydney FF
    • Best Documentary - European Film Awards
    • Best First Film - César Awards

  • Venice Days

    Toronto IFF - Real to Reel
    San Sebastián IFF - Zabaltegi
    Karlovy Vary IFF

    Nomination for Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards

Synopsis

Some time in the 1960's, in the heart of Africa, a new animal was introduced into Lake Victoria as a little scientific experiment. The Nile Perch, a voracious predator, extinguished almost the entire stock of the native fish species. However, the new fish multiplied so fast, that its white fillets are today exported all around the world. Huge hulking ex-Soviet cargo planes come daily to collect the latest catch in exchange for their southbound cargo… Kalashnikovs and ammunitions for the uncounted wars in the dark center of the continent. spacer This booming multinational industry of fish and weapons has created an ungodly globalized alliance on the shores of the world’s biggest tropical lake: an army of local fishermen, World bank agents, homeless children, African ministers, EU-commissioners, Tanzanian prostitutes and Russian pilots.

Director's Statement

The old question, which social and political structure is the best for the world seems to have been answered. Capitalism has won. 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. Most of us I guess, know about the destructive mechanisms of our time, but we cannot fully picture them. We are unable to "get it", unable to actually believe what we know. It is, for example, incredible that wherever prime raw material is discovered, the locals die in misery, their sons become soldiers, and their daughters are turned into servants and whores. Hearing and seeing the same stories over and over makes me feel sick. After hundreds of years of slavery and colonisation of Africa, globalisation of african markets is the third and deadliest humiliation for the people of this continent. The arrogance of rich countries towards the third world (that's three quarters of humanity) is creating immeasurable future dangers for all peoples. It seems that the individual participants within a deadly system don't have ugly faces, and for the most part, no bad intentions. These people include you and me. Some of us are "only doing their job" (like flying a jumbo from A to B carrying napalm), some don’t want to know, others simply fight for survival. I tried to film the personalities in this documentary as intimately as possible. Sergey, Dimond, Raphael, Eliza: real people who wonderfully represent the complexity of this system, and for me, the real enigma.

Production

  • MILLE ET UNE PRODUCTIONS

     

  • SAGA FILM

     

  • COOP99 FILMPRODUKTION

     

International Sales

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