A film by Véréna Paravel, Lucien Castaing-Taylor
2012, 87 minutes
No. 422

A 10th anniversary re-release of one of the most acclaimed documentaries of the 21st centuryLeviathan, from filmmakers Verana Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor (De Humani Corporis Fabrica, Caniba) 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 and Véréna Paravel 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.

Official Selection, New York Film Festival
Official Selection, Locarno Film Festival
Official Selection, Toronto Film Festival
Winner, Douglas Edwards Award, Los Angeles Film Critics Circle
Winner, Vienna Film Festival
Winner, Seville Film Festival
Winner, Belfort Film Festival
Winner, CPH:DOX Film Festival
Official Selection, DC Environmental Film Festival

“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

“A nonfiction game-changer. A staggering thrill-ride of an experience.”– Robert Greene, Filmmaker Magazine