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03-16-2013, 06:29 PM
  #972
kihei
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Leviathan (2013), directed by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel: A wildly experimental documentary that vividly portrays a long night in the life of a fishing trawler off the coast of New Bedford, Massachusetts. There is no narrative and no narration, just a series of often violent, often abstract images that are shot with the aid of dozens of tiny cameras that can capture footage in places never deemed remotely accessible before. If a fish or shellfish could conjure a vision of hell to equal the paintings of Hieronymus Bosch, this documentary would be it. We do see some humans, though infrequently, plying their hard and dangerous trade, but they are always silent unless there is some necessary reason to speak. They are not the focal point of attention. Primarily the movie dwells upon the strangely surreal machinery of the trawler, its nets, winches and killing floor, and, most impressively, on the activity in the ocean itself before, during and after the catch arrives. The carnage and waste is abundant, but the true violence comes from the sea at night, from the forces of nature itself. The fact that these startlingly unconventional images are sometimes highly abstract does not in the least diminish their power. I was mesmerized from start to finish, no doubt in part because of the awesome sound editing that accompanied the visuals. However, if you have no or little taste for experimental film, this documentary is definitely not for you. About one fifth of the audience walked out during the screening.

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