Darwin's Nightmare (2004)

Movie


Darwin's Nightmare (2004)
Darwin's Nightmare (original title)

The larger scope of the story explores the gun trade to Africa that takes place under the covers -- Russian pilots fly guns into Africa, then fly fish back out to Europe. The hazards and consequences of this trade are explored, including the pan-African violence propagated by constant flow of weapons into the continent. If it is a "survival of the fittest" world, as Darwin concluded, then the capitalist interests that fund the gun runners are climbing the evolutionary ladder on the backs of the Africans in this stark Darwinian example. Much like the foreseeable extinction of the Lake Victoria perch, and death of Lake Victoria itself, the Africans are in grave jeopardy, even as they survive in the only ways they know how.
Austria
Belgium
France
IMDb   7.5 /10
Metacritic   84 %
TheMovieDb    7.2 /10
RottenTomatoes
TV.com
FilmAffinity   7.6 /10
Creators
Director Hubert Sauper
Writer Hubert Sauper
Information
Release Date2005-01-20
Runtime1h 47min
GenreDocumentary
Content Rating
AwardsNominated for 1 Oscar16 wins & 5 nominations total
CompanyMille et Une Productions, Coop99 Filmproduktion, Saga Film (I)
CountryAustria, Belgium, France, Germany
LanguageEnglish, Russian, Swahili
Elizabeth 'Eliza' Maganga Nsese
Elizabeth 'Eliza' Maganga Nsese
Self - Pilots' girlfriend, singeras Self - Pilots' girlfriend, singer
Raphael Tukiko Wagara
Raphael Tukiko Wagara
Self - Night guardas Self - Night guard
Dimond Remtulia
Dimond Remtulia
Self - Fish factory owneras Self - Fish factory owner
Marcus Nyoni
Marcus Nyoni
Self - Airport police officeras Self - Airport police officer
Sergey Samarets
Sergey Samarets
Self - Ilyushin-76 captainas Self - Ilyushin-76 captain
Jonathan Nathanael
Jonathan Nathanael
Self - Young painteras Self - Young painter
Msafiri 'Safiri' Habat
Msafiri 'Safiri' Habat
Self - One-legged street boyas Self - One-legged street boy
Dima Rogonov
Dima Rogonov
Self - Singing pilotas Self - Singing pilot
Vladimir Tarasenko
Vladimir Tarasenko
Self - Air navigatoras Self - Air navigator
Jura Biriuchev
Jura Biriuchev
Self - Freight supervisoras Self - Freight supervisor
Stanislav Ivanchenko
Stanislav Ivanchenko
Self - Radio engineeras Self - Radio engineer
Jakob Maiseli
Jakob Maiseli
Self - Fish-quality controlleras Self - Fish-quality controller
Lalit Malhotra
Lalit Malhotra
Self - Simba Plastics salesmanas Self - Simba Plastics salesman
Shadard Mkono
Shadard Mkono
Self - Fishing camp leaderas Self - Fishing camp leader
Cleopa Kaijage
Cleopa Kaijage
Self - Reverendas Self - Reverend
Cees Goudswaard
Cees Goudswaard
Self - Marine biologistas Self - Marine biologist
Richard Mgamba
Richard Mgamba
Self - Investigative journalistas Self - Investigative journalist
Naomie John
Naomie John
Self - Girl in the baras Self - Girl in the bar

Darwin's Nightmare

Darwin's Nightmare is a 2004 Austrian-French-Belgian documentary film written and directed by Hubert Sauper, dealing with the environmental and social effects of the fishing industry around Lake Victoria in Tanzania. It premiered at the 2004 Venice Film Festival, and was nominated for the 2006 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 78th Academy Awards. The Boston Globe called it "the year's best documentary about the animal world."


Overview

The film opens with a Soviet-made Ilyushin Il-76 cargo plane landing on Mwanza airfield in Mwanza, Tanzania, near Lake Victoria. The plane came from Europe to ship back processed fillets of Nile Perch, a species of fish introduced into Lake Victoria that has caused the extinction of hundreds of endemic species.

Through interviews with the Russian and Ukrainian plane crew, local factory owners, guards, prostitutes, fishermen and other villagers, the film discusses the effects of the introduction of the Nile perch to Lake Victoria, how it has affected the ecosystem and economy of the region. The film also dwells at length on the dichotomy between European aid which is being funneled into Africa on the one hand, and the unending flow of munitions and weapons from European arms dealers on the other. Arms and munitions are often flown in on the same planes which transport the Nile perch fillets to European consumers, feeding the very conflicts which the aid was sent to remedy. As Dima, the radio engineer of the plane crew, says later on in the film: the children of Angola receive guns for Christmas, the children of Europe receive grapes. The appalling living and working conditions of the indigenous people, in which basic sanitation is completely absent and many children turn to drugs and prostitution, is covered in great depth; because the Nile perch is fished and processed for export, all the prime fillets are sold to European supermarkets, leaving the local people to survive on the festering carcasses of the gutted fish. As to why the local fish can not be sold to the domestic market to counter the impending famine (local news reports relayed in the film indicated Northern and Central Tanzania were facing famine), one fish processing factory manager says "it is too expensive".


Reception

Critical response

Darwin's Nightmare has an approval rating of 90% on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, based on 52 reviews, and an average rating of 7.56/10. The website's critical consensus states, "This eye-opening documentary brings some of the shocking effects of globalization to light". It also has a score of 84 out of 100 on Metacritic, based on 18 critics, indicating "universal acclaim".

Awards

  • 2004 Entrevues Film Festival (Entre vues), Audience Award
  • 2004 European Film Award for Best Documentary
  • 2004 Vienna International Film Festival, Vienna Film Award
  • 2005 Thessaloniki Documentary Festival, Audience Award
  • 2005 Angers European First Film Festival, European Jury Award
  • 2005 Mexico City International Contemporary Film Festival, Audience Award
  • 2005 Sydney Film Festival, FIPRESCI Prize
  • 2005 Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival, Special Jury Prize and Community Cinema Award
  • 2006 César Award for Best First Feature Film
  • 2006 Academy Awards Best Documentary Feature nominee