Darwin's Nightmare Reviews
August 28, 2005
[font=Century Gothic]"The Untold Story of Emmitt Louis Till" is a documentary about 14-year old Emmitt Louis Till, who was tortured and lynched while on vacation with relatives in Mississippi in 1955. This and the failure to convict the killers in a courtroom were one of the main sparks of the Civil Rights Movement. This documentary really does not provide any new information and simply relies on talking heads and archival material.(One of the interviews is with Till's mother who provides the emotional core of the movie.) The most informative parts involve Till's funeral in Chicago and the preparations for that. There is a very odd coda, though. The main point of this documentary is that there are few things more powerful than a mother's grief.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][color=navy]"Darwin's Nightmare" is a powerful documentary about the thoroughly catastrophic ecosystem of Lake Victoria in Tanzania, a country on the edge of famine as it is. Some years before, Nile Perch were introduced into the lake which not only killed off all the other fish in the lake but also cannibalize themselves. Humans are affected because if they do not have one of the relative handful of jobs involved with the catching and processing of the fish(which are all shipped off to Europe without anything beneficial in return), then they must turn to prostitution, find some other way to survive or starve. But even for the people who do work, life can be risky - HIV/AIDS is rampant, fishing is itself dangerous and the local airport's primitive conditions make things a little risky trying to take off and land. The movie interviews people involved like factory managers, airport security, Russian pilots, a prositute, a minister and a local artist.(No outside experts are interviewed but we can see for ourselves that something is seriously wrong here.) My only complaint is that none of the people lucky enough to work in the factory are interviewed to get a sense of how their lives are. This is an excellent documentary about neo-colonialist attitudes that allow for people to make a buck at the expense of other people they have no interest in helping.[/color][/font]
February 2, 2008
I remember seeing the large aquarium at the Toronto Zoo showing all the fish species that call Lake Victoria home. It is a large lake but a fragile one and this film points out how war and poverty often provide mankind with no choice but to introduce destructive species into ecosystems.
August 17, 2009
The second of two depressing documentaries I watched in a row.
You can?t blame the movie for the infinitely interesting subject and great interviews with people, but the movie just seems to trapse through and record what happens and but it together in happenstance. It could have benefited from better editing. But there are so many opinions and character portraits with this scenario. And following Lisa (?), who has one of a few personal and emotional stories was tragically lucky. It really sucks, this whole situation, and needed to see the light of day.
However, my favorite parts of this movie were seeing all the crashed planes and makeshift fixing of the machines ? and these things fly over our heads and can fall. And, the captions/title cards that introduce people and situations. They were hilarious.
December 21, 2007
"I want all child of world to be happy. I just don't know how to do it." These are the words of a Russian pilot who flies 500 tons of Nile perch out of Mwanza airport while the local residents starve to death. And that basically sums up this movie. The situation around Lake Victoria in Tanzania is one giant cluster. A huge fish not native to the lake has killed off every other fish and now eats its own young. Meanwhile, the locals starve, subsisting on the heads of these fish while the choice cuts get shipped off to Europe. HIV and AIDS run rampant, orphans huff melted fish packaging, and women prostitute themselves to survive. And local politicians complain that they need more positive images of their country to be exported rather than focusing on the problems at hand and European Union representatives are either woefully or willfully ignorant of the situation. It's a frustrating film to watch as it seems like things are so messed up that there doesn't seem to be any possible solution. A great documentary, just unbelievably bleak. Side note: best to watch this with complete English subtitles as the English accents are many times so thick as to be nearly unintelligible.
October 19, 2007
My favorite film of 2006. Demonstrates the dark side of globalism from poverty and a devastatingly unsustainable food chain to organized crime.
July 13, 2007
Probably a good documentary, but the shooting style and narrative of the piece rubbed me wrong and made the whole story uninteresting to me. Lost me about ten minutes in.
July 2, 2007
This was extremely hard to watch... in fact it was downright brutal. It focuses on the horrible conditions that a community lives in just to produce a certain type of fish to export. The people are paid shit and live like animals... while the people exporting the fish from thier lake are getting rich. They are basically getting exploited in the worst way possible just so that people can have the luxury of this one type of fish. It's enough to make you want to disown the human race. Everyone should see this just to raise awareness of what consumer demands in rich nations can do to the societies that must produce these goods.
December 28, 2006
This is another one of the countless stories of how the white man continues to rape Africa and its people - stripping it of anything of value.
July 6, 2012
A very good documentary about what is really going on in Tanzania. It is very hard to watch, but an eye-opener about third world countries. The interesting part is that nothing really is explicitly explained. The audience sees different events and any intelligent person can figure out what is really not being said.
October 19, 2011
At first a bit bizarre, but really powerful in the second half. Makes you think why do we complain this much in our lives. We should watch documentaries like this one from time to time.
|Darwin J. Manango D||
February 15, 2011
renrie eh9ue nxeuxeeniue
August 12, 2011
The documentary is good, but I probably added a star for the extensive director interview. Really intelligent and interesting guy...
August 3, 2007
My first reaction after seeing the movie is ? God Bless me that I am not eating fish or any non-vegetarian products!
The documentary is about Lake Victoria of Tanzania where numerous varieties of lovely fishes used to live, and one day during 1960s somebody came and injected the mighty fish Perch, who became the exportable commodity for Tanzania to European and Japanese markets. The consequences were severe ? firstly all local small and big fish were extinct; secondly the plane that came to take the fish could not travel empty because it does not make commercial/ business/ capitalist sense, so it is filled with arms and ammunition (that is what Europe can give this world); thirdly the pilots (as all migrants and traveling population like truck drivers) has to survive their sexual needs by flourishing cheap local African prostitutes for them; fourthly the brokers, dealers, middle men in the chain (mainly Indian origin business people) get richer and Tanzania?s poverty remains the same; fifth poverty drives the children to crime, drugs etc.
The premise to make this documentary was excellent. But has the Director Hubert Sauper succeeded in making a good documentary? It is a big NO. I say the reasons:
Like in India, it requires a higher caste Brahmin to stand up and project to the world, Indian poverty and untouchables; similarly it requires an Austrain born European documentary maker to tell the world the story of Tanzania and its crumbling and ruining economy and poverty. It is the pathetic motive of unaware breeding of that rich class (who have never seen poverty or known poor), who survives, live, earn and fame like pest hanging on to projecting poverty to the world as soon as they see it. There is nothing more but despise by Africans who see such images of their.
The intention and motives of the Hubert seems totally lop-sided. The images, characters, locales, interviews are too grave and murky, dark and disturbing. He uses exaggerated ignorance as a voice to present his case. What we feel in the end is pity and sadness for Africans. We also start considering the Tanzania government and people as villainous. May be some westerners sitting in their air-conditioned rooms would find time to discuss and debate about the pathetic living conditions of Africans, but there would be nothing more than that.
The director restrains to show himself even once on the screen ? so as not to be identified among the Europeans who exploit this poor country.
This Director Hubert can only survive being exploiters themselves like today?s CNN and BCC media giants. Hubert did not have guts or common sense to talk to any Europeans who eat or companies who import these fish products. A totally lop-sided flimsy effort! But I understand the reasons of the same ? Hubert just wanted to rake his fame, sitting and smiling with awards in his European comfort.
No more words to spare for this pathetic effort. I hesitantly give the documentary a higher rating 3.5 Stars out of 10, just because the theme was correct; but was pathetically exploited and blown away by amateurish ill conceived director made solely for un-intelligent western audiences!
(Stars 3.5 out of 10)
June 28, 2007
One of the goals of making documentaries is to make them interesting and this is not the case.
August 22, 2006
This documentary takes a compelling look at the harsh economic realities of the Lake Victoria are in Tanzania, Africa.
July 19, 2006
Darwin's Nightmare. I might as well go through my Documentary Rant before I talk about this film. Documentary should mean that the cameras document the event, and that the audience is allowed to draw its own conclusion. What I find today is that most documentaries are filmed with a thesis and the cameras don't document, they are there to prove a point (*cough* Michael Moore *cough*). Don't get me wrong, I enjoy watching Michael Moore's films, but I disagree with calling them documentaries. They aren't documentaries, they are editorials. I don't read the editorial page of my newspaper looking for bias-free documenting of fact, I read them for opinion. Therefore, this larger category of Documentary should be split between documentation films (Grizzly Man) and editorial films (Bowling for Columbine)
So back to Darwin's Nightmare. Is this a documentary or an editorial. The feel and the filming have such a rough documentary edge, but the filming is a little too lopsided to feel completely honest, or to completely sway a critical viewer. However, I don't think that any of the images in this film can be denied. There is a lot wrong with what is happening in Tanzania, and this film finds the meat of it. The images in this film are shocking and graphic. From the camps around lake victoria, to the excesses of the fish pilots this is tough film to watch without feeling sick to your stomach. The movie flows well, and seems to touch all aspects of the fish trade and those people who it touches. While this movie is not for the faint of heart, I do reccomend it as a movie that caputres the grit and despair of Third World Africa.
[b]Verdict:[/b] 9/10 for being an editorial, but for also letting the camera speak.