UK, 2011 (MIFF 2011, Documentaries)
Director: James Marsh
"Reminds us that while our close genetic relatives are as intelligent as they come, we can be the biggest chumps." - Guardian
The follow-up to James Marsh's Oscar winning Man on Wire (MIFF 2008), Project Nim takes us into a 1970s social experiment to bridge the gulf between human and animal: teaching a chimp to communicate with sign language by raising it with a human family.
Reared from infancy in a hippy household, 'Nim Chimpsky' was subsequently shunted around numerous foster homes. From the hilarity of primate pot-smoking to the horrors of animal testing facilities, Project Nim follows 27 years in the life of the chimp and his carers, as Nim makes a disturbing journey from adorable infant to menacing adult.
Blending archival footage, candid interviews and re-enactments, Marsh's engrossing and unsettling documentary reveals as much about scientific ethics and human foibles as it does about primate intelligence.
D James Marsh P Simon Chin Dist Icon TD 35mm/2011