Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Project Nim

In the early 70s a professor from Columbia University wanted to conduct an experiment to see if a chimp, stripped from its mother at birth and placed in human care, would be able to develop physical and verbal communicative skills. So begins the extraordinary, humorous, and sometimes harrowing story of Nim, a baby chimpanzee born in a lab, raised in a New York brownstone, and transported from location to location as situations arose surrounding the project. "Project Nim" is an insightful documentary on the famous study from director James Marsh, the man behind the wonderful Oscar winning film "Man on Wire". While telling Nim's intriguing story, the documentary is revelatory about the human participants in the project, many of whom appear on camera. "Project Nim" is a great film, a kind that offers humor and intrigue while also providing a valuable lesson, here one of nature and nuture, human kindness and cruelty, and the proper roles of man and beast.