Thursday, November 15, 2012

Leviathan (2012)

Leviathan (2012)
Leviathan (2012)
Genre: Documentary
Director: Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Véréna Paravel
Language: English
Duration: 87 min.
Rating: 8.0 
Summary:
A collaborative clash of man, nature, and machine in the North Atlantic.
Leviathan is a documentary film by French anthropologist Véréna Paravel and Harvard professor Lucien Castiang-Taylor (Head of the Sensory Ethnography Lab). It premiered in competition at the 2012 Locarno Film Festival.

To put it bluntly, this isn't a documentary, it's an 87 minute nightmare projected on screen. There's no narrative, no commentary, no exposition, no attempt at all to provide the things we are accustomed to seeing from a doc. Only a Biblical title card, proceeded by an endless series of disorienting and terrifying but sometimes beautiful images, captured by a dozen or more strategically placed digital helmet-cams in and around a fishing trawler on the high seas.

Leviathan (2012)

These tiny cameras are mounted, fixed, and strapped to random locations, such that they are subject to the ship and the sea's chaotic motions, and they capture a wildly surreal perspective that no human controlled lens could ever reproduce. The point of view from the bottom of the ocean food chain is not a pleasant one, and it all adds up to a brutal and gory horror movie scenario that we've never seen before. That of a giant steel monster, dealing untold death and destruction with frightening efficiency, seen from the eyes of whatever unfortunate creature happens to be caught in its murderous path.

Of course the film's experimental nature is a double edged sword. The sensory overload, and the erratic visuals are artistically magnificent, but they are not easily endured. It's largely filmed at night, and in the crude darkness sometimes it takes several moments just to make out what it is we are seeing, while other scenes go on for what seems like forever. No, it's not an easy watch; in fact, I don't think I've ever seen so many people walk out of a screening before. Still, it's a film that offers a staggeringly unique and unforgettable visceral experience quite unlike anything else, and that is an impressive feat.
Bonjour Tristesse

Leviathan (2012)

Leviathan (2012)

Leviathan (2012)

Leviathan (2012)

Leviathan (2012)

Leviathan (2012)

Leviathan (2012)

Leviathan (2012)

10 comments:

FrontRoomCinema said...

Sounds intense. I would like to experience it, but maybe not with my wife, she would moan like buggery about it... Still havent convinced her to try The Turin Horse!!

Michaël Parent said...

I have read many disparate reviews about this one. Very intrigued about it and I think I'll try to catch it. It is a case of love it or hate it. Which camp were you?

The Angry Lurker said...

Sounds like a great concept, I'm intrigued.

Murtaza Ali said...

Your review makes it sound quite intriguing... will surely catch it soon! And thanks to your amazing site my bucket list of movies continues to grow bigger and heavier :-)

d_4 said...

I was not expecting an 8.0. In fact, I wasn't expecting this one to be reviewed at all. Now, I'm still feeling a little shaky about this one, but if for some odd miracle of a reason it airs over here, I might, MIGHT go check it out.

Purely because my tastes have adjusted well to your opinions in the past.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Heh, we could start a pool to see how long it takes for her to leave the room.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Both... haha. I love the concept of it, it's visionary films like these that broaden the possibilities of cinema. But it's also a very very difficult watch.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

I also have an ever expanding film bucket list, actually I think that's true for any cinemaphile.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

It's a difficult one to rate. It's a very impressive work of art, and it's also unlike anything I have ever seen before, so my high score reflects that.

Bonjour Tristesse said...

Sorry but this filmmaker is full of it. The film is a waste of our good time, better spent sleeping than watching...

Just because you are a Harvard professor and go out to sea and get wet and bumped around does NOT make your footage worth seeing. A real tough editing is needed here, such as when I ran this dvd at quadruple fast forward, reducing it to just a few minutes. Even then, some scenes should be deleted.

Were they really surprised that all flesh food on the plate comes at a high price? Do all these film reviewers and their academic buddies never think about food, until they find themselves on the deck of a trawler? Hey !--HEY! that is real life--and real DEATH, get it Prof???

Eat some vegetables if you are so guilty, but keep this stuff as a home movie; "What I Did on My Sabbatical..."

Sound was unhearable, in fact frustrating, more informative as silent on fast forward! And that essay by Cyril Neyrat? Not only must it have been poorly translated, it was written in garbage-academese...sincerely hope no one got tenure for that!

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