Primate

Film

Documentaries

 

Time Out says

'We get erection at one frequency, and ejaculation at another' a researcher says to a colleague. In this case the scientists are talking about apes, but as behaviour researchers discover and refine new methods of electronic control, it's perhaps only a matter of time before human beings are routinely implanted with electrodes and their sexuality controlled by electronic impulses. Wiseman spent a great deal of time filming these types of investigations at a well-known primate research centre in America. Unfortunately, his style is not to inform but simply to record. We are shown an endless series of experiments on chimpanzees, orang-utangs and gorillas, executed with cold, heartless efficiency; but the images of operations and dissections, as brutal as they sometimes appear, are meaningless unless we are provided with basic information on why this particular research is being conducted. This lack of viewpoint is particularly disappointing in a slow, rambling documentary that could have given us a purposeful look into the mechanics of behaviour and the frightening implications suggested by scientific research.
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Release details

UK release:

1974

Duration:

105 mins

Cast and crew

Director:

Frederick Wiseman

Producer:

Frederick Wiseman

Screenwriter:

Frederick Wiseman

Cinematography:

William Brayne

Editor:

Frederick Wiseman

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