Review from ROAPE Volume 34 Number 113
‘Darwin's Nightmare’ (Sauper): Critical Assessment
‘Darwin's Nightmare’ (Hubert Sauper; 2004, France/Austria/Belgium, 107 min) is a documentary film about the Nile perch fishing industry around Lake Victoria in Tanzania.
Since its release in 2004, it continues to generate accolades and criticisms that fall outside of conventional ideological boundaries favoured by globalisation's fans and its discontents.
The film's director, Hubert Sauper has been embraced and rebuked by those claiming to promote the interests of the film's subjects. Yet the film has not yet been taken seriously as a discursive construction of particular ideologies of development, nor has it been subjected to the scrutiny necessary in order to understand the film's power to confirm, for a popular audience, much of what they think they know is ‘true’ about Africa and how such a representation can be both problematic and dangerous.