France, UK, USA, 2012, 85'
Filmed in the same waters crossed by the whaleboat Pequod chasing Moby Dick in Melville’s novel, Leviathan is the result of Sensory Ethnography Lab’s radical project, i.e., making a film that captures the collaborative clash of man, nature, and machine. The fishing practice is filmed by GoPro cameras that dizzyingly plunge into the depths of the sea and jump up the top of the boat, decentralizing the no-longer-human gaze to immerse the audience into gigantic, indomitable, and sublime nature.
Leviathan does not feign three-dimensionality but finds it in the whirling frenzy of the shots, only apparently at the mercy of natural forces. Shying away from all categorization, Castaing-Taylor and Paravel pursue a conception of the image that manages to eschew all conventional relationships to representation, time, and space. The cosmic, powerful, and dark portrayal of one of the most ancient challenges of humankind is also an environmental parable in which the sea menaces to take revenge on humanity, one that we should heed, now more than ever.