Price: $195.00

    Code: 2446

    Directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel
    2012, 87 minutes
    5.1 surround sound
    Purchase: $195

    * 2014 "Notable Video for Adults," American Library Association

    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 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.

    Subjects & Collections

    Festivals & Awards

    * 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
    * 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

    "It’s a disorienting and dazzling visual experience. Think of Microcosmos, in the world of microscopic organisms, the March of the Penguins in Antarctica, and now Leviathan, in the dark seas off New England.” – David D’arcy, Artinfo

    "For those concerned with phenomenology, the anthropology of work, sensory ethnography, and/or the tradition and transgressions of ethnographic film, Leviathan is compulsory viewing ."- Visual Anthropology Review

    " Leviathan brings new depths to ethnographic film." - The American Anthropologist

    " Highly Recommended. Academic libraries supporting film studies programs should consider Leviathan a core title , and public libraries serving coastal communities should seriously consider adding the film to their collections. Instructors in environmental studies, human ecology, and human-animal studies may also find Leviathan useful in starting classroom discussion." - Educational Media Reviews Online

    Further Reading

    "The Merger of Academia and Art House: Harvard Filmmakers’ Messy World" - The New York Times' fascinating profile of Lucien Castaing-Taylor, founder of Harvard's Sensory Ethnography Lab.