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One of the most critically-acclaimed documentaries in recent years, Leviathan is a groundbreaking, immersive portrait of the contemporary commercial fishing industry.
Filmed off the coast of New Bedford, Massachusetts – at one time the whaling capital of the world as well as Melville’s inspiration for Moby Dick; it is today the country’s largest fishing port with over 500 ships sailing from its harbor every month.
Leviathan follows one such vessel, a hulking groundfish trawler, into the surrounding murky black waters on a weeks-long fishing expedition. But instead of romanticizing the labor or partaking in the longstanding tradition of turning fisherfolk into images, filmmakers Lucien Castaing-Taylor ( Sweetgrass ) and Verena Paravel ( Foreign Parts ) present a vivid, almost-kaleidoscopic representation of the work, the sea, the machinery and the players, both human and marine.
Employing an arsenal of cameras that passed freely from film crew to ship crew; that swoop from below sea level to astonishing bird’s-eye views in the sky, the film that emerges is unlike anything that has been seen before. Entirely dialogue-free, but mesmerizing and gripping throughout, it breaks new ground in both cinema and anthropology, while presenting a cosmic portrait of one of mankind’s oldest endeavors.
Directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel, France, UK, USA
“Looks and sounds like no other documentary in memory.” – Dennis Lim, The New York Times
“ Leviathan is in every way sensational. Aurally clamorous and visually ravishing, shot mainly at night and mostly in close-up with a precipitously lurching camera, Leviathan abstracts the harvesting and processing of seafood into a vision of terrible beauty.” – J. Hoberman, Artinfo
“Imbued with America’s history of economic dependence upon sea life… Leviathan embodies the frenzy, nerve, and vigor behind the effort to apprehend the world.” – Film Comment
“A watery knockout. Leviathan explodes the antiquated paradigm of the documentary or ethnographic film.” – Melissa Anderson, Village Voice
“A highly original film of uncompromising, other-worldly beauty. Demands to be seen.” – Hollywood Reporter
Showtimes: Mon 5/20 5:30 PM
Run time: 1:37