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Project Nim back to product details

Humans Suck
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written by jmwagner66 June 15, 2012 - 11:30 AM PDT
I'm an anthropologist. I've known of Nim Chimpsky (yes, his name is a play on "Noam Chomsky") and the questionable ethics of those who handled, trained, and "owned" him through the years. This film further confirms the horror with the full life story of Nim, available also in the book "Nim Chimpsky: The Chimp Who Would Be Human" by Elizabeth Hess. Nim's treatment roughly parallels that of Genie's treatment. Genie is the pseudonym of a young girl kept isolated even from family members in an abusive home. When "discovered" her life was taken over by academic who dumped her in the foster system when she no longer served their needs.

Despite the tragic subject matter, this is a beautiful film. The filmmakers are familiar to you from "Man on Wire" and do just as well on this effort. Their access to and use of archival footage is amazing. They include some reconstructed scenes which may bother purests, but these scenes largely don't detract from the message of the film though they occasionally are distracting if one is very familiar with chimp morphology.

This is overall a wonderful film and would make an excellent double feature with "Mockingbird Don't Sing," the film account of Genie's life. Both are excellent examples of troubling ethics in anthropological, linguistic, and psychological research on human and non-human primates.

12345678910

(Average 8.67)
9 Votes
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