Screened as part of NZIFF 2005

Darwin's Nightmare 2004

Directed by Hubert Sauper

A jaw-dropping and scathing exposé of the ecological devastation and economic exploitation of Tanzania's Lake Victoria.

Austria / Belgium / France In English, Russian, Sukuma and Swahili with English subtitles
107 minutes 35mm

Director, Screenplay, Photography


Denise Vindevogel


David Carbonara


Venice, Toronto, London 2004; New Directors/New Films 2005


This jaw-dropping and scathing exposé of ecological disaster and ruthless exploitation is all the more effective for the way in which Austrian filmmaker Hubert Sauper appears so off-hand in his accumulation of the appalling evidence. In Tanzania’s Lake Victoria, the introduced Nile perch has multiplied in such abundance that it has devastated all other aquatic life. It has also become the region’s key export. Even more grotesquely, the planes that carry the fish from a starving country to the restaurants of Europe arrive in Tanzania empty – or carrying weapons. Sauper’s camera surveys the pollution while he draws frank interviews from exploiters and exploited alike: pilots, security guards, factory owners, fishermen, prostitutes and the impoverished Tanzanians who work in the factories and feed on the scraps.

“Sauper gives a sense not only of how the different parts of this damaged society are related, but also of how they fit within the global economy… That some measure of humanity still flickers in this cruel landscape makes the film that much more devastating.”
— A.O. Scott, NY Times