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Darwin's Nightmare

Darwin's Nightmare

A Feature film by Hubert Sauper

Produced by Mille et Une Productions

Release in France : 02/03/2005

  • Contents

Production and distribution (4)

Executive Producer :

Mille et Une Productions

Film exports/foreign sales :

Celluloid Dreams

Foreign production companies :

Saga Film, Coop99 Filmproduktion

French distribution :

Ad Vitam

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Box office: Timeline

International releases (24)

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The shores of the world’s largest tropical lake, considered to be the cradle of humanity, are today the stage of globalization’s worst nightmare.

During the sixties, the Nile perch, a voracious predator, was introduced into Lake Victoria, in Tanzania, as a scientific experiment. Since then, practically all the lake’s indigenous fish have been wiped out. A lucrative industry was born of this ecological disaster, for the white flesh of this enormous fish is successfully exported throughout the Northern Hemisphere.

Fishermen, politicians, Russian pilots, prostitutes, industrialists and European commissioners are all actors in this drama that extends beyond the borders of this African country.

Huge cargo planes from the former Soviet Union create a constant ballet in the sky above the lake, thereby also opening doors to the South for another business: arms trading.


“Darwin’s Nightmare” is absolutely real. It’s the story of people from the North and the South, set against the backdrop of globalization – and fish. The idea for the film came in a small town called Mwanza, where the industrial revolution took hold in 1997. It was there that I noticed two gigantic cargo planes, loaded to the gunnels with food supplies, cross paths. The first came from America, loaded with 45 tons of foodstuffs and corn flour for the neighboring UN refugee camps. The other was heading for Belgium, with 50 tons of fresh fish on board.
The Nile perch is a relatively new resident in Lake Victoria. After being introduced artificially, this predator has destroyed more than 95% of the lake’s indigenous fish species. The ecosystem of the world’s largest tropical lake is now totally out of sync and lacks oxygen.
Nevertheless, the starving fish continues to develop, devouring its own offspring, and has enabled a multinational and ephemeral food industry to bloom. This all takes place in Tanzania, one of the poorest countries on the planet. Millions of people living by the lake no longer have the means to eat their own fish. The Nile perch takes the plane to the Northern Hemisphere, following the law of economy, the law of survival of the fittest…

Photos (5)

Full credits (5)

Foreign Producer :

Hubert Toint

Press Attaché (film) :

Matilde Incerti

Sound editor :

Veronika Hlawatsch

Sound Recordist :

Cosmas Antoniadis

Editor :

Denise Vindevogel

Technical details

Feature film

Genres :


Themes :

Environment, Society

Production language :


Coproducer countries :

France, Belgium, Austria

Original French-language productions :


Nationality :

Majority French (France, Belgium, Austria)

Production year :


French release :


Runtime :

1 h 47 min

Current status :


Visa number :


Visa issue date :


Approval :


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Audio format :

Dolby SRD

Posters (3)


News (2)

Festival Selections (17)


Cesar Awards - French film industry awards - 2006

Cesar Awards - French film industry awards (France, 2006)


César award for best debut