Tens of thousands of fish and related sea creatures were killed during the making of this film, an astonishing, often overwhelming documentary about the commercial fishery off the Massachusetts coast. Documentary, in fact, is too tame a word for Leviathan’s roil, throb and roar. This is cinema as immersion and submersion, film as a medium of maelstrom-like disorientation where a fin, a human elbow, a metal plate are often indistinguishable and words like “up” and “down” are meaningless. There are no calm voice-overs here, no tidy title cards, just raw, in-your-face footage of man, fish, fowl, machine and water locked in their primal thing, dancers in a choreography of unceasing toil and desperation. While frequently beautiful to watch, like a late sixties Fillmore West light show, it’s a light show from hell, or the mind of Melville’s Ahab.
At VIFF: Oct. 9, 4:15 p.m. Granville 2