Darwin’s Nightmare

Hubert Sauper’s acclaimed documentary is a compelling cautionary tale that clearly shows how, in this age of globalisation, things can easily evolve in the worst possible of unforeseen ways.

Darwin's NightmareBack in the 1960s someone poured some non-native fish into Lake Victoria.

The profoundly predatory Nile Perch was far bigger than its native rivals and, in killing off most species, also had a deleterious effect on the human population: farmers moved to the lake to become fishermen and satisfy the European and Russian demand for fish, which in turn caused massive economic change, sickness, poverty and, inevitably, political skulduggery.

Witty, provocative, angry and heart-breaking, this incisive, imaginative film ranges wide in the subjects it covers. Filming undercover gave Sauper access to an impressive array of people, from businessmen and pilots to prostitutes and EU politicians, some of them alarmingly frank in their admissions.

Darwin’s Nightmare is less an expose of corrupt individuals than a terribly lucid investigation into mankind’s mad capacity for (self-)destruction, it’s a film that will surely prick the conscience of all who see it.