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Project Nim

Tue 4 October 2011 // 20:00
Wed 5 October 2011 // 20:00

(Tue 4th, Wed 5th Oct / 8pm / £5/4/3 TTT)
(James Marsh / 2011 / UK/USA / 93 minutes / cert PG)

'Man On Wire' director James Marsh's documentary tells the true story of Nim, a chimp taken from its mother at birth to be used by researcher Herbert Terrace in his quest to see if chimps could learn sign language. Marsh has a wealth of early 70's home movie footage to play with and has interviewed everyone who was connected to the chimp's life. Terrace comes across as an arrogant womaniser who employs a succession of young, idealistic, attractive, female researchers to work with Nim while he oversees from afar. The women inevitably fall in love with the cute chimp, but the parent-child power relationship alters when Nim enters puberty and starts to challenge all for his place as the dominant male. Terrace ends the experiment abruptly with no thought for the future of a chimp brought up by humans. How will Nim survive behind bars with his fellow primates? The heart-breaking scenes in which humans from his past come back to visit him in captivity reveal that even without language, Nim's understanding of love and rejection were remarkably human.