posted on Mar, 21 2005 @ 07:05 PM
I have watched this documentary on the 7th Festival of Documentary Film
quite scary. Its scary to see how people starve in a country, which main export is a food product.
Billed as a study of the Nile perch, a ruthlessly effective predator introduced into Lake Victoria 30 years ago, Darwin's Nightmare is in fact
hardly about that at all. True, these giant fish are a constant presence in Hubert Sauper's sobering documentary, but the focus is not the lake's
ecosystem but the personal stories of those who work in the fishing, filleting and transport industries that have colonised the Tanzanian shore.
Every day, vast Russian planes arrive in Mwanza airport in the north west of the country, leaving with a daily cargo of 500 tons of Nile perch
destined for the Russian and European markets. What these planes carry on their way into Africa is a mystery that nobody wants to talk about, until a
solitary, subdued pilot admits that he flies tanks and other weapons into Angola. That's where the real money lies. The fish are simply a bonus that
fill up the planes on the flight back to Europe.
The cruellest irony is that while so much fish is exported to Europe, Tanzania itself is struggling to avoid famine, so a secondary industry has
grown up drying and roasting the decayed, discarded fish carcasses, salvaging what nourishment remains. How much blame can be pinned on the fishing
industry and how much should more properly be attributed to Africa's wider problems is open to question, but this is a desperately sad story, told by
people who accept their plight with astonishing serenity. It is a great injustice that not all of them live through to the end of
Not to mention the flow of weapons to this region. The local airport has very poor communication equipment. They operate radios only, no radar, no
satellite. And that radio often fails. So they use light signals: red for stop, yellow for standby and green for land. The traffic controller said
that alot of flights come unannounced and that they have a big traffic for this kind of small airport. And this is perfect port for all the weapon
dealers to import them into Africa and the Victoria Lake region. This documentary is about Tanzania; and it borders Rwanda and DR Congo, both
countries involved with civil war. Both countries in need of Peace Keepers. But they receive weapons from the West and the same planes take away their
A Russian pilot of the Ilyushin 76 cargo plane, capable of 55 tons of airlift said, that he used to smuggle weapons to Angola, and then he went to
South Africa to pick up grapes, and went to Europe. So one friend said to him:
"The children in Angola will receive weapons for Christmas, and children in Europe will receive grapes."
"A fascinating cautionary tale in the guise of a documentary showing how, in the age of globalisation, things can evolve in the worst possible of
unforeseen ways. Witty, incisive, heart-breaking, angry, shocking, and very imaginative, it's yet further proof that Austrian film-makers are now
getting things right."
Best Documentary 2004 - European Film Awards
Europa Cinemas Label Jury Award Venice
Vienna Film Prize
NFB Documentary Award - Montreal
Best Film - Copenhagen Dox
Grand Prix - Festival de Film d'Environnement Paris
[edit on 21/3/05 by Souljah]