Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Darwin's Nightmare
French poster for Darwin's Nightmare

One of the indie films scooping up awards this season is a foreign documentary named "Darwin's Nightmare." It's the true story of the introduction and subsequent domination of the Nile perch (Lates niloticus) in Lake Victoria. While the Nile Perch is native to Africa, it was not known in Lake Victoria until it was intentionally introduced there in the 1960s. Its arrival irrevocably altered both the ecology of Lake Victoria and the economies of the countries where the lake is situated: Tanzania, Uganda and Kenya. "Darwin's Nightmare" focuses on Tanzania. The director of the film, Hubert Sauper, paints a grim picture of a country that processes and exports tons of nile perch flesh to wealthy countries while native Tanzanians teeter on the edge of famine. The planes that take away the perch for sale and consumption arrive with guns and ammunition that will make their way to the wars in surrounding African countries.

It doesn't look like I will be able to catch any of the screening of this film, but I look forward to the DVD release. Tip of the virtual hat to SFStation for posting about a screening of the film in San Francisco.

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