The frothy ocean sloshes against starboard, the wind rushes by in a sharp whistle, the visibly rusty body of a manmade whale groans underneath: these are merely the first dramatic impressions of LEVIATHAN, the new documentary film by Lucien Castaing-Taylor (SWEETGRASS) and Verena Paravel (FOREIGN PARTS).
Castaing-Taylor and Paravel have together created a masterful and completely unique documentary called LEVIATHAN. A film about - or of - the commercial fishing industry, what differentiates LEVIATHAN from other documentaries is that it capture its subjects without commentary, without dialogue or narration. It is a documentary in the purest sense, it documents by way of sight and sound. These two gateways lead to an overtly sensory experience, one that transports an audience member from their seat to the deck of a ship in stormy waters. LEVIATHAN is unlike anything you have seen before, a one of a kind film that captivates, hypnotizes, & arrests the viewer. An innovative film like this only comes around every so often.
Whether defined as cinema or anthropology, or a combination of the two, LEVIATHAN is a breathtaking genre-defying experiment. While most may expect a documentary to present a point of view or to serve an educational purpose, Castaing-Taylor and Paravel more closely use the documentary as a kind of essay or poem. The film transforms a real life experience into a kind of poetry -- to see the intense and sometimes alarming details of even something so seemingly mundane as a trawler is, in itself, starkly beautiful.
LEVIATHAN is absolutely wonderful onscreen chaos. A delight for the eye, heart, & mind - it is pure cinema.
LEVIATHAN opens this weekend at the Alamo Drafthouse Ritz for two shows, one each on 04/20 & 04/21.
Open yourself to seeing something entirely original and wholly sensational. You will be glad that you did. (Sam Prime)