Leviathan (2012 film)

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Leviathan poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLucien Castaing-Taylor, Véréna Paravel
Written byLucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel
StarringDeclan Conneely, Johnny Gatcombe, Adrian Guillette
Distributed byCinema Guild
Release date
  • August 9, 2012 (2012-08-09) (Locarno Film Festival)
Running time
87 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$76,211[1]

Leviathan is a 2012 documentary film directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel of the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard University. It is an experimental work about the North American fishing industry. The film has been acquired for U.S. distribution by The Cinema Guild.

The filmmakers used GoPro cameras and worked 20-hour shifts during the shooting of the film.[2]


Peter Howell of the Toronto Star said the film "plunges us into the sights and sounds of this visceral business", using "[t]iny waterproof cameras that could be clipped or rested upon people, fish or objects…to capture the film’s raw images and natural sounds. Edited together into a non-linear and virtually wordless whole, it creates a briny immersive effect that is almost hallucinatory."[3] A. O. Scott of The New York Times noted that the film "conveys the brutal toll that the enterprise takes on the workers and on the ocean, and it could even be read as an environmental parable in which the sea threatens to exact its revenge on humanity. But none of this is explicit in the film, which avoids exposition and context, unfolds almost entirely in the dark and often verges on hallucinatory abstraction. Where most documentaries prize clarity, this one attests to the power of estrangement."[4] Melissa Anderson of The Village Voice opined that "[t]he density of aural and visual stimuli overwhelms—and liberates."[5] NPR critic Stephanie Zacharek was less complimentary, calling the film "a self-conscious tone poem concocted from oblique camera angles, shots held longer than it takes a tadpole to reach maturity and nighttime images enhanced with a psychedelic glow. An alternate title for it might be David Lynch, Gone Fishin'."[6]

The film won the Michael Powell award for best British feature at the Edinburgh International Film Festival[7] as well as the Experimental/Independent Film/Video Award at the 2012 Los Angeles Film Critics Association Awards.[8] It was presented within Maryland Film Festival 2013 as a favorite film of Baltimore-based filmmaker Matthew Porterfield.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Leviathan (2013) at Box Office Mojo
  2. ^ "Leviathan: the film that lays bare the apocalyptic world of fishing". The Guardian. 2013-11-18. Retrieved 2015-06-25.
  3. ^ Peter Howell, "Leviathan a fish-eye view aboard a commercial trawler: review", Toronto Star, March 14, 2013.
  4. ^ A. O. Scott, "The Merger of Academia and Art House: Harvard Filmmakers’ Messy World", The New York Times, August 31, 2012.
  5. ^ Melissa Anderson, "Steel Yourself for Leviathan, A Watery Knockout", The Village Voice, February 27, 2013.
  6. ^ Stephanie Zacharek, "'Leviathan': Of Fish And Men, Without Chats", National Public Radio, February 28, 2013.
  7. ^ "Edinburgh gives top award to experimental documentary Leviathan". The Guardian. 2013-06-28. Retrieved 2013-07-02.
  8. ^ "'Amour' Named Best Film by Los Angeles Film Critics". The Hollywood Reporter. 2012-12-09. Retrieved 2012-12-10.

External links[edit]