Darwin's Nightmare

Darwin's Nightmare

2005, Society  -   30 Comments
Ratings: 7.55/10 from 29 users.

Darwin's NightmareSome time in the 1960's, in the heart of Africa, a new animal was introduced into Lake Victoria as a little scientific experiment.

The Nile Perch, a voracious predator, extinguished almost the entire stock of the native fish species. However, the new fish multiplied so fast, that its white fillets are today exported all around the world.

Huge hulking ex-Soviet cargo planes come daily to collect the latest catch in exchange for their southbound cargo… Kalashnikovs and ammunitions for the uncounted wars in the dark center of the continent.

This booming multinational industry of fish and weapons has created an ungodly globalized alliance on the shores of the world’s biggest tropical lake: an army of local fishermen, World bank agents, homeless children, African ministers, EU-commissioners, Tanzanian prostitutes and Russian pilots. (Excerpt from darwinsnightmare.com)

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30 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Larry

    Larry Soc-158 (04) 9-23-2021 Very difficult to understand, what I got was, that a fish was introduced into the largest Lake in the world, it kills off most of the natural fish. It turn out that this fish multiplied so rapidly it became profitable and was in high demand in Russia. fish for weapons . The Kids sold their bodies for food, it
    seems that there was an active war or was preparing for one.

  2. Ceci

    If only the Spanish loud voice over would be quiet! We wanted to hear the speakers - not u! Subtitles are appropriate as there are 5 languages spoken in this film, yet , you cannot hear the speakers for the loud Spanish...which no one in the film spoke.

    There are so many layers to this problem. The government there must change whatever they are doing. Now I’m interested to know what kind of corruption is Valerie’s more than human life & dignity.

  3. gringochad

    @who_me_yeah_you: And sometimes, from our armchairs, we criticize points of view with no more knowledge than an internet surfer who claims his criticisms are in defense of the victims in this documentary but at the end of the day he does a better job at showing his ignorance about development in third world countries than showing what he knows about the locals' plights. Assuming it's not already obvious to the viewers, he summarizes the obstacles the locals face as any middle schooler could. He pats himself on the back for he feels like a "do-gooder" in this case but leads others to wonder "if he's going to criticize, shouldn't he also propose an alternative?" Or does he fear opening himself up to the same type criticism that he dishes out?

  4. ThePhilhw

    Strange but excellent film / documemtary.
    Great French photographic style and wonderful visuals.
    The guy in the control tower swatting wasps, oblivious to the 4 engined Antonov landing behind him sets the scene.

    Great stuff.

    You can take from this whatever you want...................
    There's a ton of irony and many,different messages.

    Worth the watch i think.

    The real world doesn't have sub titles either.

  5. zaphodity

    Nothing personal just business.

  6. ranii02

    i do think the situation is concerning, and very unfortunate for the nearby community by that stupid scientist who didn't think twice before dropping the fish in the water, but i do think subtitle would help understand more, not just become the purpose of the doc

  7. Tell53

    The doco was supposed to be about the Nile Perch. It wasn't.

    1. Emma Pe Te

      thing is: it was never about the Nile Perch. Or at least, not only.

    2. Jayfa

      You are correct. The Nile Perch in Lake Victoria is a microcosm of what is happening in Tanzania, and perhaps the entire world.

  8. Henry

    @Chad I like the way you think and write. You should start a blog (if you haven't already). Your ideas are well thought out and you express them very clearly in your writing, without the need of a wall of text like some people do.

    In your short comment you made me realize a few things I that haven't really thought about.

    1. who_me_yeah_you

      Hate to burst your bubble but Chad's return to subsistence existence is simple minded B.S. Populations have grown far bigger (by large multiples) than the original subsistence days, coupled with the land being fenced off with commercial farms taking the prime land (for exported cash crops of course). Secondly these guys know the life around the lake, most haven't the skills to become small scale farmers or hunter gatherers (nor the accessible land for that matter). The real issue is not so much one of economics as extortion/exploitation. The is an extortion/exploitation food chain from IMF banksters going down to the lowest in that chain the prostitutes. The homeless kids are in a vicious college of victimisation where they learn at first hand the skills they will need to survive, very few will survive let alone be promoted to a position of less painful exploitation. Its grim out there but thats what keeps our 1st world ticking over so nicely. The governments pull the wool over our eyes because we dont want to know our part in this food chain, we just want cheap food and goods. Every now and then we'll watch a Doc and give our "solutions", further mocking the plight of the likes of the fishing communities. Dya think they haven't considered finding an easier way that doesn't involve meeting quotas for somebody else's gain?

  9. Chad

    @Scott above...

    The best option? The best option for a whole society is not the pursuit of wealth maximization. The other option you didn't consider is how the local people could ban the fisheries and go back to subsistence living where they harvested sustainably and in a way that fed all. Enter the Europeans (which just as easily could be Americans or any other capitalistic society) and the exploitation begins and the sustainable way of life is destroyed. Economics is about trade-offs...in this case the fisheries and European customers benefit and the trade-off is the exportation of the resulting poor in Tanzania who have no other option but to emigrate to the capitalistic countries who then wonder why they have immigration problems.

  10. Marcel Marien

    I don't know what you are talking about. What world do you think you are living in? A documentary should entertain? Buying their fish is the only way to "give" them money? 3 ponts out of 5? Documentaries should captivate and inspire passion? Needs subtelties? Hello?

    Here is the challenge. Try, whereever you are living and breeding such incredibly meaningful world-views, to live for just ONE MONTH in such a way that it will not be on the expense of others, no matter where in the world those others are living. I guarantee you, a year will not suffice you to even find out about all the ways in which your life is built on the exploitation of the life of others - it is the very life-blood of so called "Western Civilization". A year will probably not suffice you to find out what you really need for living (while still being able to call this a life). When you have managed to live a month like this and still hold your job and your living place and are still around, please let me know how you did it. Such examples are worth emulating.

  11. scott

    How is buying your fish local going to help these people? Fishing the fish is the only thing that will cull the population. Buying the fish is the only thing that will give them any money at all. Given the situation it seems like the best option.

    1. David Foster

      Or you can just leave them alone to breed and consume until they have killed everything in the lake, then they all die at once. That's how evolution works, my friend.. fully efficient, and free of any moral obstructions!

    2. Andrew

      Buying fish locally will not help these people. Remember, the Nile perch was already expensive before the population went into decline. I do not know the exact price now, but I know it is easily more expensive than it was in the film. The population is probably decreasing somewhat because of the amount fished but the main reason for its decline is the extinction of native species in Lake Victoria that the Nile perch ate. Yes, fishing was the best option for MEN. For women, what could you do? Prostitution, being exploited by Europeans yet again. This is the reality of Tanzania, and the second largest freshwater lake in the world is a shell of what it once was.

  12. andy

    I feel sorry for you if you didnt get what the point is here.
    I feel ashamed for having ever complained of anything :(

  13. Mathias

    To be honest, I think this one gets 3 out of 5. Some points are to vague, and not evidenced.

  14. beyondhorizon

    I feel ashamed after watching this doc. I feel as if somehow i am also responsible for the suffering of those people. Its surprising that so many people have posted such ignorant comments on this doc. its simple and straight forward to understand. Its about vampires living in europe hosting on the blood of poor and hungary african people. People eating maggot infested remains of the fish living next to the lake and those living 5000 miles away enjoy the best part of it without a hint of consiousness. Who says slavery has ended. It also reminds me of the long queue the iraqis were making outside the petrol stations although they "own" the world second largest oil deposits.It was well summarised by the pilot when he said "european childern get grapes for the chritmas while african childern get the guns(manufactured in europe)."
    The imperalistic, capatalistic mentalitiy of the first world is going to start its own demise. The Romans destroyed themselves because they were unjust to the weak and poor. looks like History is going to repeat itself.

    1. David Foster

      That's the way the coin rolls!

  15. ez2b12

    @ Tybosch

    Chill out man, no one is belittling the situation. The whole point of a documentary is to present the content in an entertaining coherent format. This doc fails at that and thierfore solicits comments such as these. That said no one is saying that the situation is not awful or that the content was not important, only that the presentation of that content was lacking. Also the description is somewhat misleading as it suggests that a large part of the documentary is about the domination of this lake by a foreign species. Since some people that come to this site are looking for documentaries on just such subject matter it was disapointing to those who watched it for that purpose. Obviousely you watched this doc for exactly what it was about and where pleased, more power to you brother. To each his own. I on the other hand found it very hard to follow and not very entertaining, thierfore the subject matter had less effect. I gained the knowledge but did so because I made myself. Documentaries should captivate and inspire passion not just provide information.

  16. TyBosch

    Are you kidding me with the comments! Subtitles? The damn fish? 3 yawns out of five? There is something wrong with people when they watch a film such as this and that is what they get out of it. Strange why there is so much ignorance and lack of sympathy in the world. Hell i guess let those people die and watch the rich get rich. As long as it is not subtitled and about a fish.

  17. mikelamar

    I give this docu 3 yawns out of 5...

  18. Krisso

    Why are you guys worried about the subtitles? The cost of the computer you are watching this on would feed these people for a long time. Just emphasizes buy your fish local, when your having a bad day think of what you just witnessed...

  19. Liam

    Even the subtitles wouldn't help... with these type of documentaries its best to narrate. Why show the prostitutes and hick scumbag Russian pilots? Why show kids sleeping on the street and getting beat up? If I wanted to watch a documentary on the people suffering in Africa I would be looking in different documentary. I wanted to find out more about the fish introduced to lake Victoria but without narration and no experts makes this the dumbest documentary i have ever seen. Misleading also!

    1. Jayfa

      Go watch a Michael Moore documentary if you like every little detail crammed down your throat ad nauseum.

    2. mugofpeanuts

      Maybe not full of facts about the Lake and its' inhabitants but I think it shows an interesting point of view; how everything is connected... The Russians (and other countries) are making money off of a Tanzanian resource (be it unnatural) while the country lays in poverty, hence the prostitutes and street children. Fishing isn't the only industry being taken away from these people... but let's not get into that.

  20. Birchbark

    Needs subtitles for sure! It is all chopped up with two minute clips pasted together. Way to many extreme close ups. But the lack of subtitles with the choppy format was very hard to follow. Camera work was lacking.

  21. Caroline Harris

    If one ever needs a dose of gratefulness about the life one posseses, then this is the documentary that I recommend to anyone. Imagine having to dangerously get high in order to sleep through the night unaware of when you are being raped.

  22. Otter

    Interesting but very difficult to understand - subtitles might have been nice.