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Switzerland, 2000 (MIFF 2001, Documentaries)

Director: Kaspar Kasics

Joseph Paul Jemigan was executed eight years ago but anyone with a modem can view his body today. While still warm, Jemigan was handed over to Texan scientists, who froze his corpse and sawed him into millimetre thick slices to be used for anatomical studies worldwide.

Jernigan was on a slippery slide to disaster when he beat a 76 year old pensioner to death in order to steal his microwave oven. With a long history of drug problems, theft and violence, a jury took just six minutes to determine that he posed too great a danger to society to live, and passed the death sentence. The pioneering process that reduced his body to hundreds of specimens, subsequently uploaded onto the internet, allows medical students and practitioners the opportunity to take a virtually tour inside every part of the human organism.

Rather than being a dry scientific thesis, this documentary offers an astounding analysis of the circumstances leading to. The Visible Human Project, as Jernigan's body became known. The killer's life and the (admittedly very strange) medical staff who worked on sawing him into sections, all go under the microscope. For science, the result was a wealth of information that could only be contained in an eight million page textbook!

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