Poetic, painful documentary about three retired apes: a film star, a scientist and a cripple. They look back at their lives and the intriguing relationship between humans and apes. Who watches whom, and who learns from this? Nominated for The Big Screen Award.
In this cinematographic essay by renowned documentary maker Jos de Putter, three famous apes look back on their lives. With the help of archive footage, we can join them.
First there is Cheetah, star of Tarzan films. He eats porridge with a spoon and augments his pension by making ape-stract art. On his 80th birthday, there’s a party and the guests watch as he blows out the candles.
Kanzi is regarded as the cleverest monkey in the world. For 30 years, he was filmed in a famous study about acquiring language. He now tries to transmit his knowledge to his two-year-old son Teco. Knuckles is the least fortunate of the three. He was subjected to tests that left their mark on his body and brain.
Finally, the film commemorates the unknown Roger, a deceased mate of Knuckles. Roger holds a mirror up to us in the epilogue. In all the years we have tried to teach apes human things, didn’t we forget something very important?