Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Sydney Film Festival Day 6: Project Nim

Project Nim charts the story of a chimpanzee that is seperated from its mother quite early and reared with humans to see if it will be able to learn to communicate independently using sign-language. During this the film examines the structure of scientific experiments, the impact of environment (house vs classroom) and the ethics of the individuals involved. It highlights the escape of Nim's chimpanzee nature that was unexpected by his teachers and handlers.

This film is a well constructed emotionally engaging piece of filmaking that will introduce a whole generation to the ills of using animals for experiments and the ethics of their treatment before, after and around that fact. As an avid watcher of nature films, specifically those from the seventies, I am not sure this film had anything new to say. Enthralling nonetheless.

I was surprised at the handful of children that were in the audience - firstly as the film festival is strictly over 18s unless specifically identified as a childrens film and secondly as this was really not a child suitable film. Unfortunately the little girl sitting closest to us was quite distressed.

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