Leviathan (dir. Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Verena Paravel)
"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.
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.