Friday, July 15, 2011

Project Nim, a profound and poignant examination of man and his closest relative, the chimp

Project Nim, A-

Project Nim is a phenomenal film from James Marsh, Oscar winning director of Man on Wire. I saw this in late April at the Independent Film Festival of Boston, where it was received with a standing ovation. For me, it elicited excitement, curiosity, outrage and tears.

It’s the story of Nim, a chimp who was raised and nurtured like a human child in the 1970s. The experiment attempted to examine communication, and the possibility of creating effective complex communication between man and his closest relative, the chimp. The Sundance Film Festival guide accurately called the film an  “unflinching, unsentimental biography of an animal we tried to make human. What we learn about Nim’s true nature – and indeed our own – is comic, revealing, and profoundly unsettling.”

I expect this film to be nominated for the Best Documentary Oscar in 2012, as the film is made expertly, and strongly stimulates both one’s intellect and emotions.

The film premiered at Sundance Film Festival 2011, where it received universal praise (and continues to at 97% on RT currently) and won the Best Directing Award for World Documentary.

Friday, July 1, 2011

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, a complex and fascinating take on domestic terrorism and the US’ relationship with the environment

If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, B+

The Earth Liberation Front (ELF) is the name of an organization that sabotages different operations that supposedly exploit or harm the environment. If a Tree Falls is an objective journalistic effort from Marshall Curry that examines the scintillating moral dilemmas that result. One among many questions it asks is whether or not the Earth Liberation Front members are domestic terrorists. The film focuses on ELF member Daniel McGowan, who grew up a normal suburban teen; he began his life of environmental activism after having his eyes opened to the atrocities man commits on its environment and fellow animals.