May 2013


by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel, opens May 23, 2013

"Humanity is haunted by the sea… It is a threshold that mediates between life and death, upper and lower, the aereal and the aqueous… It is infinitely beautiful, yet disquietingly deep." The directors spent one year at sea filming with industrial fishermen from New England. In portraying the labor of fishing, it participates in a longstanding history of transforming fisherfolk into images, one that goes back to the beginnings of photography. Yet it resists both the romanticism and the anthropocentrism of this tradition, striving instead for a less sentimental relationship between the human and the pelagic, and to afford equal aesthetic attention and ontological weight to the human, the ecological, and the industrial. In the waters where Melville's Pequod gave chase to Moby Dick, Leviathan captures the collaborative clash of man, nature, and machine. Shot on a dozen cameras – tossed and tethered, passed from fisherman to filmmaker – it is a cosmic portrait of one of mankind’s oldest endeavors.

Reviews (selection)

"Looks and sounds like no other documentary in memory."
Dennis Lim, The New York Times

"There are moments in Leviathan so breathtaking that it's easy to forget they're also familiar."
Eric Kohn, Indiewire

"In this stunning and unparalleled work, using small digital cameras, they have discovered new forms of cinema. There has not yet been a film quite like Leviathan: see and feel it for yourself."
Mark Peranson, Locarno Film Festival

"A highly original film of uncompromising, other-worldly beauty. Leviathan demands to be seen, even if it means you never eat seafood again."
Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter

"The pic contains several striking visuals that range from disturbing to beautiful." Variety

Véréna Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor are filmmakers, artists, and anthropologists, who work at the Sensory Ethnography Lab at Harvard University. Their work is in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York, and the British Museum, and has been screened at the AFI, Bafici, Berlin, cph:dox, Locarno, New York, Toronto, and Viennale film festivals, and exhibited at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts, the Centre Pompidou, the Berlin Kunsthalle, Marian Goodman Gallery, the x-initiative, and elsewhere. Paravel’s previous films include "Foreign Parts" (2010, with J.P. Sniadecki), "Interface Series" (2009-10) and "7 Queens" (2008); and Castaing-Taylor’s "Hell Roaring Creek" (2010), "The High Trail" (2010), "Sweetgrass" (2009), "In and Out of Africa" (2001), and "Made in USA" (1990), the last three with Ilisa Barbash.

Land/Year: USA/GB/F 2012. Format: DCP. Length: 87 Min.
Director, DOP, Editor, Producer: Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel.