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The Anxiety, and Disaster, of Influence

Two new documentaries probe the often dire effects of outside influences on third world countries. In Our Brand is Crisis, the arrival of U.S. campaign consultants threatens to change the outcome of the 2002 Bolivian presidential election.

Another film, Darwin's Nightmare, is about the devastation of Lake Victoria in Tanzania. In the 1950s, the British colonial government released Nile perch fish into the lake, only to see it devour all other fish and destroy the lake's ecosystems.

Both films are currently in theaters. Our Brand is Crisis won the top prize from the International Documentary Association, and Darwin’s Nightmare was nominated this year for an Academy Award.

Copyright 2022 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

John Powers is the pop culture and critic-at-large on NPR's Fresh Air with Terry Gross. He previously served for six years as the film critic.