Rodents of Unusual Size | Chicago Reader
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Rodents of Unusual Size

The title of this engaging and informative documentary refers to the nutria, a large, rat-like mammal native to Argentina that was brought to southern Louisiana in the early 20th century with the aim of being bred for the fur trade. After fur became unpopular in the late 1970s, the nutria population exploded, with the animals becoming an invasive species that ate up much of the Louisiana wetlands. The movie concerns recent efforts to control the population, with short (and often wryly funny) profiles of trappers, furriers, chefs, and even a good-natured eccentric who keeps a nutria as a pet. Directors Quinn Costello, Chris Metzler, and Jeff Springer emphasize their subjects’ creativity and camaraderie, resulting in a upbeat, flavorful community portrait. This also generates a certain ironic humor by suggesting that the nutria problem was actually good for Louisiana because it led to the creation of so many new jobs.

Credits

Directors:

  • Quinn Costello
  • Chris Metzler
  • Jeff Springer

Cast:

  • Wendell Pierce

Producers:

  • Quinn Costello
  • Chris Metzler
  • Jeff Springer
  • Sally Fifer

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