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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


    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.

    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

    Box Office: Total results

    Box office: Timeline

    International releases (24)

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    “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 :


    Production formats :


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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 First Feature