Darwin’s Nightmare (Le Cauchemar de Darwin)
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Hubert Sauper’s documentary tells many tales.
First. Tanzania’s Lake Victoria is being overrun by the Nile Perch, a predator fish which is eating up everything in its path.
Second. The Nile Perch was introduced into the lake to cultivate an export and to feed Europeans – not the starving locals.
Third. The local economy has come to depend on the Nile Perch industry. (An economy was “introduced” like the perch were.)
Fourth. The Nile Perch industry has brought together businessmen from all over Europe, pilots from Russia and fisherman, prostitutes and children (homeless children) from Tanzania.
Fifth. Even though a famine plagued Tanzanians, Europeans ate a lot of Nile Perch.
Sixth. Planes leave full of Nile Perch fillets destined for the European markets but can it be that these planes arrive in Tanzania empty? Covert arms trades are nothing new.
But Sauper’s film tells one truth – the truth of human greed.
All the left over parts of the filleted Nile Perch (what the Europeans won’t eat) are eaten by Tanzanians. The maggots that crawl through the fish eyes are ignored. These images are juxtaposed with images of businessmen in suits and ties at a meeting to justify their markets. These images, unlike the maggots, are revolting.
The film, unfortunately, does not come close to representing the gravity of the truths and tales in the film. But I’m not sure that’s possible!
* Currently in theatres in Paris.