Run time: 105 mins
Richard Ladkani’s eco-thriller ventures into the front line fight to save the planet’s most endangered sea mammal.
The swim bladder of the Mexican totoaba fish is rich in collagen. In China, it is believed to possess a miraculous skin rejuvenation power to make us look younger (uh oh). On the black market, a swim bladder is more valuable than gold, and can sell for tens of thousands. Showing in Competition at Sundance, Sea of Shadows follows the attempts by a group of conservationists to stop the illegal totoaba trade in Mexico’s Sea of Cortez. Fighting against this illegal multi-million-dollar business is not a healthy idea.
Peppered with smugglers, eco-warriors, the Chinese mafia and corrupt government officials, this film packs all the intensity of a Hollywood blockbuster/thriller (without The Rock’s greased pecs) into its 104 minutes. Humbling as it is heart-pounding, it’s a documentary which cuts through the walls that are so easily erected by talk about the environment, reminding us that we all might have the ability to make a difference. (Research Chris Coetsee) Brilliant Chris. Ability? Without visibility, without looking up and out, it might as well be just another precious full moon missed on night-fuelled revels. Who gives a fish…