Archive of films Darwin's Nightmare / Darwin's Nightmare

Austria / Belgium / France
2004, 107 min

Section: Another View
Year: 2005

This film, awarded the Arte Prize for a European documentary in 2004, brings a suggestive testimony about the terrifying contrasts of the globalised world. In interviews with all kinds of people around Lake Victoria in Tanzania, the director unfolds a drastic story of a place threatened not only by an ecological catastrophe but much else besides: planes fly out from here daily carrying fish to Europe, while the local inhabitants are dying of AIDS and poverty.  


Although this feature-length documentary by well-known European documentarist Hubert Sauper focuses on a microcosm at Lake Victoria in Tanzania, it speaks urgently of the global problems of the contemporary world. During the sixties the Nile perch was introduced into this, the largest tropical lake in the world (the source of the Nile). This predator multiplied to such a degree that it destroyed every living thing in its path. However, it also became a source of subsistence and major export for this poor region. Russian cargo planes fly out 500 tonnes of fish to Europe and Japan on a daily basis (often bringing weapons back in illegally). Modern fish restaurants sprang up here, but also appalling work colonies where the local population falls victim to AIDS, alcohol and crime. Sauper and a colleague conducted interviews with many people in difficult conditions and under various covers: from Russian and Ukrainian pilots, night watchmen and a prostitute, to owners of fisheries, and officials.

About the director

Hubert Sauper (b. 1966, the Tyrol) lived in Great Britain, Italy and the USA, and has been working in France for ten years. He studied film in Vienna and Paris and lectures on film in colleges in Europe and America. He is established as a respected filmmaker, particularly for his “African” documentaries Kisangani Diary (Kisangani Tagebuch, 1998; Special Prize at the KV IFF in 1998 and the FICC award in Cracow) about the appalling conditions of Rwandan refugees in Congolese refugee camps, and Darwin’s Nightmare (2004; Arte Prize for a European documentary) about life on the shores of Tanzania’s Lake Victoria. He also made the feature film So I Sleepwalk in Broad Daylight (Also schlafwandle ich am hellichten Tag, 1994), a documentary capturing the testimonies of four female victims of domestic violence Alone with Our Stories (Seules avec nos histoires, 2000) and several short TV films. As an actor he appeared in Peter Patzak’s films In the Circle of Iris (Im Kreis der Iris, 1992) and Peter Schreiner’s Blue Distance (Blaue Ferne, 1994). 


Celluloid Dreams
2, rue Turgot, 75009, Paris
Tel: +33 149 700 370

About the film

Color, 35 mm

Section: Another View
Director: Hubert Sauper
Screenplay: Hubert Sauper
Dir. of Photography: Hubert Sauper
Editor: Denise Vindevogel
Producer: Edouard Mauriat, Antonin Svoboda, Martin Gschlacht, Barbara Albert, Hubert Toint, Hubert Sauper
Production: Mille et une productions, koprodukce/coproduction:Coop99filmproduktion, Saga Film
Contact: Celluloid Dreams


Sébastien Chesneau

Distributor, Sales Agent


© 2020 FILM SERVIS FESTIVAL KARLOVY VARY, a.s. +420 221 411 011 All contacts

CinemasCinemas PartnersPartners
ProgramProgram About the projectAbout the project
HistoryHistory GalleryGallery
HistoryHistory ContactsContacts
Archive of filmsArchive of films KVIFF TalksKVIFF Talks
Industry Days July 5 - July 8Industry Days July 5 - July 8 ContactsContacts
VideogalleryVideogallery GalleryGallery
HistoryHistory Festival GuideFestival Guide