Cultural coupfor the Duke
September 27, 2005
The opportunity to see an acclaimed documentary before it becomes available to most of the nation’s public will occur Friday at Lake Tahoe Community College.
“Darwin’s Nightmare” will be shown at 7:30 p.m. at the 150-seat Duke Theater.
The film is about a contemporary global alliance in Tanzania: Fish for guns.
“We’re getting it two weeks before it will be released in San Francisco,” said Ryan Blocher, an LTCC arts enthusiast who is responsible for acquiring the film.
“I grew up in Cairo and I have a deep passion for the continent,” Blocher said. “What I saw in that movie really struck a chord with me. I was finding metaphors that can easily transcend to everyday life.”
In a region called “the birthplace of mankind,” the Nile perch introduced into Lake Victoria have wiped out all the other fish, creating an environmental crisis in a region suffering from epidemics and civil wars. As people are starving, the thriving perch are exported to Europe to be served in restaurants. The perch are exchanged for weapons.
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Austrian Hubert Sauper filmed the documentary.
“In ‘Darwin’s Nightmare’ I tried to transform the bizarre success story of a fish and the ephemeral boom around this “fittest” animal into an ironic, frightening allegory for what is called the New World Order,” Sauper wrote on his Web site. “I could make the same kind of movie in Sierra Leone, only the fish would be diamonds, in Honduras, bananas, and in Libya, Nigeria or Angola, crude oil.
“The old question, which social and political structure is the best for the world, seems to have been answered. Capitalism has won. The ultimate forms for future societies are ‘consumer democracies,’ which are seen as ‘civilized’ and ‘good.’ In a Darwinian sense the ‘good system’ won. It won by either convincing its enemies or eliminating them.”
The film recently was featured at the Green Screen Environmental Film Festival in San Francisco.
A.O. Scott of the New York Times wrote in his review: “Sauper gives a sense not only of how the different parts of this damaged society are related, but also of how they fit within the global economy. … That some measure of humanity still flickers in this cruel landscape makes the film that much more devastating.”
The Duke Theater is the site for monthly movies and artistic performances.
Performing Arts League members Bill Abiko and Steve Goldman initially heard about “Darwin’s Nightmare” and forwarded the idea of bringing it to the college to Blocher. Abiko said “Murderball” will be the next film on Friday, Oct. 21. It is about a group of disabled rugby players.
“We are trying to bring in more varied and diverse films,” Blocher said. “We are trying to fill a need we feel is not being met elsewhere in the community.”
General admission tickets are $5, and $4 for students, seniors and children. The box office opens at 6:45 p.m.