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)