49 user 79 critic

Darwin's Nightmare (2004)

A documentary on the effect of fishing the Nile perch in Tanzania's Lake Victoria. The predatory fish, which has wiped out the native species, is sold in European supermarkets, while starving Tanzanian families have to make do with the leftovers.


Hubert Sauper


Hubert Sauper
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 16 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »




Cast overview, first billed only:
Elizabeth 'Eliza' Maganga Nsese Elizabeth 'Eliza' Maganga Nsese ... Self - Pilots' girlfriend, singer
Raphael Tukiko Wagara Raphael Tukiko Wagara ... Self - Night guard
Dimond Remtulia Dimond Remtulia ... Self - Fish factory owner
Marcus Nyoni Marcus Nyoni ... Self - Airport police officer
Sergey Samarets Sergey Samarets ... Self - Ilyushin-76 captain
Jonathan Nathanael Jonathan Nathanael ... Self - Young painter
Msafiri 'Safiri' Habat Msafiri 'Safiri' Habat ... Self - One-legged street boy
Dima Rogonov Dima Rogonov ... Self - Singing pilot
Vladimir Tarasenko Vladimir Tarasenko ... Self - Air navigator
Jura Biriuchev Jura Biriuchev ... Self - Freight supervisor
Stanislav Ivanchenko Stanislav Ivanchenko ... Self - Radio engineer
Jakob Maiseli Jakob Maiseli ... Self - Fish-quality controller
Lalit Malhotra Lalit Malhotra ... Self - Simba Plastics salesman
Shadard Mkono Shadard Mkono ... Self - Fishing camp leader
Cleopa Kaijage Cleopa Kaijage ... Self - Reverend


The larger scope of the story explores the gun trade to Africa that takes place under the covers -- Russian pilots fly guns into Africa, then fly fish back out to Europe. The hazards and consequences of this trade are explored, including the pan-African violence propagated by constant flow of weapons into the continent. If it is a "survival of the fittest" world, as Darwin concluded, then the capitalist interests that fund the gun runners are climbing the evolutionary ladder on the backs of the Africans in this stark Darwinian example. Much like the foreseeable extinction of the Lake Victoria perch, and death of Lake Victoria itself, the Africans are in grave jeopardy, even as they survive in the only ways they know how. Written by Erin Willis <erindive@yahoo.com>

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Featured in Smagsdommerne: Episode #2.13 (2005) See more »

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11 April 2006 | by florine_lawranceSee all my reviews

It seems that a common critique of this film is that it lacks focus and asks questions but does not provide answers. Far from agreeing that this proves lack of skill in film making, I think this demonstrates the director's analysis and knowledge of the documentary form. I felt that the filmmaker was conveying Western complicity in this by leaving us to try to put the pieces together ourselves. We thereby actually have to THINK about what he is getting at and the role we have to play in this situation. There is no voice-over in this film, which we are so used to explaining the meaning of a story to us. I think a lesson is better learned when we draw the conclusions ourselves, rather than being blatantly told how to interpret information in a documentary.

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Austria | Belgium | France | Germany


English | Russian | Swahili

Release Date:

21 January 2005 (Austria) See more »

Also Known As:

Darwins Alptraum See more »

Filming Locations:

Lake Victoria, Tanzania See more »


Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,072, 7 August 2005

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

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Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital | Dolby (Synchro Film, Austria)



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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