LEVIATHAN (2012) with Filmmaker Lucien Castaing-Taylor

February 15, 2018, 3:00 P.M.

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts, and Sciences, and the USC School of Cinematic Arts, invite you and a guest to a special screening of

Leviathan (2012) with Filmmaker Lucien Castaing-Taylor

Directed, Produced, and Shot
by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel

Followed by a Q&A with Lucien Castaing-Taylor
Moderated by Dr. Michael Renov, SCA Vice Dean of Academic Affairs

3:00 P.M. on Thursday, February 15th, 2018

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

Free admission. Open to the public. RSVPs required.


About Leviathan (2012)

One of the most critically acclaimed documentaries in recent years, Leviathan (2012) is a groundbreaking immersive portrait of the contemporary commercial fishing industry. Filmed off the cost 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 harbor every month.

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 in the sky, the film is unlike anything that has been seen before. Entirely dialogue-free, but mesmerizing and gripping throughout, it breaks new ground in both cinema and anthropology, while presenting a cosmic portrait of one of mankind’s oldest endeavors.


About Lucien Castaing-Taylor

Lucien Castaing-Taylor is a Professor of Visual Arts and Anthropology at Harvard University and the director of the Sensory Ethnography Lab, an experimental laboratory at Harvard University that promotes innovative combinations of aesthetics and ethnograph. Castaing-Taylor’s work is in the permanent collection of New York's Museum of Modern Art and the British Museum, and has been exhibited at Venice Biennale, documenta, Tate, Centre Pompidou, MoMA, Whitney Museum of American Art, Berlin Kunsthalle, PS1, Whitechapel Gallery, and London's Institute of Contemporary Arts. His films and videos have screened at Berlin, Locarno, New York, Toronto, Venice and other film festivals.

Castaing-Taylor’s works include Sweetgrass (2009, with Ilisa Barbash), a film that offers an unsentimental elegy at once to the American West and to the 10,000 years of uneasy accommodation between post-Paleolithic humans and animals, and Canst Thou Draw Out Leviathan with a Hook? (2012—2016, with Verena Paravel), a four-part project about humanity and the sea. Leviathan (2012), Still Life/ Nature Morte (2014) and eleven of his other works were included in the 2014 Whitney Biennial. In 2015, together with Ernst Karel and Verena Paravel, he completed the installation Ah humanity!, which takes the 3/11/11 disaster in Fukushima as its point of departure and reflects on the fragility and folly of humanity in the age of the Anthropocene. It has been installed at the French National Archives at the Hôtel de Soubise in Paris and at the Science Center at Harvard. His latest works, commissioned by documenta 14, are somniloquies (2017, with Paravel), Commensal (2017, with Paravel), and Caniba (2017, with Paravel).

About Dr. Michael Renov, SCA Vice Dean for Academic Affairs

Michael Renov, professor of Critical Studies and Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, is the author of Hollywood's Wartime Woman: Representation and Ideology and The Subject of Documentary, editor of Theorizing Documentary, and co-editor of Resolutions: Contemporary Video Practices, Collecting Visible EvidenceThe SAGE Handbook of Film Studies and Cinema’s Alchemist: The Films of Peter Forgacs.

In 1993, Renov co-founded Visible Evidence, a series of international and highly interdisciplinary documentary studies conferences that have, to date, been held on five continents. He is one of three general editors for the Visible Evidence book series at the University of Minnesota Press, which has published 27 volumes on various aspects of nonfiction media since 1997. In 2005, he co-programmed the 51st annual Robert Flaherty Seminar, a week-long gathering of documentary filmmakers, curators, and educators, creating 20 screening programs and filmmaker dialogues on the theme "Cinema and History."

In addition to curating documentary programs around the world, he has served as a jury member at documentary festivals including Sundance, Silverdocs, the Buenos Aires International Independent Film Festival, Brazil's It's All True, the International Environmental Festival of Film and Video, also in Brazil, and DocLisboa in Portugal. He has taught graduate seminars at the University of Stockholm, Tel Aviv University and Central European University in Budapest, Hungary and has led documentary workshops in Jordan for the Royal Film Commission and in Cyprus. Renov's teaching and research interests include documentary theory, autobiography in film and video, video art and activism, and representations of the Holocaust.

Check-In & Reservations

This screening is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring a valid USC ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 2:30 P.M.

All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $12.00 at the USC Royal Street Entrance, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & Royal Street. We recommend the USC Royal Street Structure, at the far end of 34th Street. Limited street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Contact Information

Name: Michael Renov
Email: renov@usc.edu