Review of “One in a Thousand” (2019)

Moving picture, 49 minutes

Seen in 2020.

I saw the English-language version on SVT.

Life in a Central European brook, in the context of human influence, including a local sewage leak. The narrator remarks that although the leak kills thousands of bullheads, among other wildlife, the local population can quickly recover from the immediate threat, in part because local farmers and environmental protection authorities intervene. The long-term decline of the bullhead is attributed to the same farmers:

The answer lies in the surrounding landscape.

This is the award-winning Nautilusfilm production. It’s remarkable both in dealing almost entirely with uncharismatic species close to home for the intended European audience, and acknowledging deterioration so centrally, and in such an intimate way. The narrator actually mentions cow manure, not the Haber–Bosch process, as the most salient problem, thus correctly implicating even organic farming.

The titular “one in a thousand” is not a particular bullhead but the brook itself; one of few retaining more than 10% of its pre-industrial biodiversity.

moving picture nature non-fiction