It’s pretty hard to beat a movie about a killer whale who eats humans – at Sea World. But the creators of Blackfish, one of 2013’s best documentaries, have decided to one up themselves with a feature-length documentary about rats. The movie, based on Robert Sullivan’s Rats: Observations on the History and Habitat of One of the City’s Most Unwanted Inhabitants, will explore these disease-carrying vermin who inhabit my basement and once ate a Panera sandwich STRAIGHT OUT OF MY HANDS.*
I’m excited to see Ratfish or whatever, if only because the producer’s last documentary was so incredibly excellent. Over eight million rats live in New York City (straight-up ten live in my living room walls), and their numbers continue to grow everyday. The documentary will feature ‘fun facts’ about rats – did you know they copulate over twenty times a day? Cute! – and include commentary from scholars, exterminators, ordinary citizens, garbage men. Ratworld may also look into the most rat-infested areas of the city, and will track their migration to America, centuries ago. The idea is to explore the physiology of the rat as well as examine the sociology of the city that enables them.
It’s unclear to me whether the film will include any spirited social commentary (my p.o.v.? MASS EXTERMINATION) but the topic is, you know, interesting. Rats may be responsible for some of the greatest plagues of the century, but their dead bodies helped humans to discover great medicine AND great makeup.
The project, recently announced at TIFF, is set to begin production sometime early next year. Sullivan , whose book the movie is based on, said:
“I love that (Dakota Group and Submarine) are able to take a theme and explore it to great and reverberating depths. In their hands, Rats will take us to great places.”
What are these great places? I can’t possibly imagine. As someone who has to carry a rat stick every time I go down to my building’s basement (a bedazzled rat stick, but still),** the closest approximation I have is: Hell.
**Not an exaggeration.