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Leviathan [Blu-ray]

2.4 out of 5 stars 19 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Directors: Lucien Castaing-Taylor, Véréna Paravel
  • Format: Blu-ray
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region B/2 (Read more about DVD/Blu-ray formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: Exempt
  • Studio: Dogwoof
  • DVD Release Date: 9 Dec. 2013
  • Run Time: 87 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00ELJY5ES
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 47,945 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

A groundbreaking, immersive portrait of the contemporary commercial fishing industry. Filmed off the coast of New Bedford, Massachusetts at one time the whaling capital of the world as well as Melville's inspiration for 'Moby Dick'; it is today the country's largest fishing port with over 500 ships sailing from its harbour every month.

Leviathan follows one such vessel, a hulking groundfish trawler, into the surrounding murky black waters on a weeks-long fishing expedition. But instead of romanticizing the labour or partaking in the longstanding tradition of turning fisherfolk into images, filmmakers Lucien Castiang-Taylor (Sweetgrass) and Verena Paravel (Foreign Parts) present a vivid, almost-kaleidoscopic representation of the work, the sea, the machinery and the players, both human and marine. Employing an arsenal of cameras that passed freely from film crew to ship crew; that swoop from below sea level to astonishing bird's-eye views, the film that emerges is unlike anything that has been seen before. Entirely dialogue-free, but mesmerizing and gripping throughout, it is a cosmic portrait of one of mankind's oldest endeavours.

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

"A highly original film of uncompromising, other-worldly beauty. Demands to be seen." Hollywood Reporter

Customer Reviews

2.4 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is a difficult film to watch, for a number of reasons, but if you can stay with it it evolves into an extraordinary experience that remains with you in beautiful and unsettling ways long after the film has ended.

The camera work is very disorientating. It is disorientating for much of the film and initially this can feel like the gratuitous use of bizarre angles, such as those from cameras strapped to the ship's hull at sea level or rolling around the deck, severely reduced fields of view and focus, and image transpositions, all seemingly designed to suggest substance where really only some inchoate almost-form exists. However over time the sequences, which are often very long (think Bela Tar) begin to make sense, later shots allowing you to understand the place, both literally and metaphorically, of earlier images. Form then really does become substance, since one of the ways that this film can be understood and enjoyed is to realise that its images and sequences contrive to form an experiential whole.

It is also difficult to watch because some of the sequences of fish preparation and the inevitable waste that goes with this are quite disturbing. You don't need to be a committed eco-warrior, animal rights activist or vegetarian to feel queasy during sections of this film. However, again, this is not gratuitous and, in my opinion, is not even intended to deliver a particular message. This is a working fishing boat and what we see from the fishermen is neither casual cruelty nor callous disregard nor deliberate waste. Theirs is a job, a hard and a dangerous job, and this is how we consumers end up with neat, clean, abstract, fillets of fish in our supermarkets.
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Format: DVD
Innovative camera angles, with no presenter voiceover or musical soundtrack, make this documentary unique and riveting. You're taken onto an industrial fishing vessel and experience the trip primarily from the fisherman's perspective but also from the perspective of the catch and the seagulls. The overall effect is surreal and often abstract but the photography is unerringly brilliant and you'll see fishing in its visceral and brutal true state.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
This is not a classic documentary, this is a physical and metaphysical experience, where sea, sky, fishes and men are melt down in terrific or poetic images.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is a beautiful and bold film. I can understand why it splits opinion, but it makes you feel like you are on the boat with the blood, nets and cold hard sea. I loved the juxtaposition of the dreamy almost surreal sea and the clanking metal hardness of the boat. As other reviewers have said, enter into it on the understanding it is a feature length film without commentary or dialogue. It is a series of long sometimes disorienting shots. You need to find your own narrative, however if you can do that, it is very rewarding and memorable.
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Not the standard documentary, this is a feast for the senses. A visual feast, Taste the Salt, Smell the fish, Hear the gulls, the grind of machines, Feel the ocean!
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
This is not a documentary in the usual style. There is no dialogue, no information like facts and figures, no interviews etc. The only sound is the ambient sound. The whole thing is shot from cameras around the ship and chest-mounted cameras on the fishermen. They just get on with their day to day activities.
If that's ok, then this is a good look at the life of a trawler crew and the way they operate. It's not sensationalist or political, it's just time on board.

So I was surprised with it for that reason, but it was still interesting. Check out some clips and you'll have a good idea of what's in store.
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Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Documentaries are supposed to tell you something. This was a set of images, bright lights that were at times recognisable. No way to learn who was doing what or why, unless you already knew. Pretentious trash!
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Format: Blu-ray Verified Purchase
Despite its numerous awards I found this dialogue free film boring and tedious. The shots were over long and in blurred semi darkness much of the time. I certainly did not find it 'mesmerizing and gripping'.
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