Must-see Friday night opening movies: ‘Project Nim’ and ‘World on a Wire’

July 29, 2011

So Cowboys and Aliens isn’t your thing this opening weekend at the movies? Well, a couple of days ago, I reviewed a real alternative option for sci-fi fans as well as a documentary about a chimpanzee researchers tried to raise as a human, which are opening this weekend at a pair of local art houses.

My review for James Marsh’s Project Nim appeared exclusively on Beached Miami’s blog: “Project Nim: Chimpanzee as guinea pig.” I had high hopes going in, seeing as I consider Marsh’s 2008 documentary, Man on Wire (Support the Independent Ethos, purchase on Amazon), one of the most moving and powerful films I have ever seen. I was not let down. Though I loved how Marsh captures high-wire walker Philippe Petit’s transcendental experience by walking a wire between the then under-construction Twin Towers in NYC in Man on Wire, there is no transcendence in Nim’s sad tale, which concludes with the obvious: Nim is not human. However, the drama Marsh creates on his way to that conclusion with talking heads, atmospheric music and archival footage is unrelenting in its power.

There is also no transcendence to be found in World on a Wire, Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s obscure foray into science fiction. However, it is quite a meditative work on man’s possibility to transcend the self via alternate realities augmented by a super computer. As detailed in my lengthy review posted here earlier this week, Fassbinder is an amazingly brazen filmmaker of the German New Wave Cinema scene. Though the film was a challenge to keep up with at three and half hours long, Fassbinder comes across as giddy with the possibilities of science fiction via is creative use of set design, otherworldly music and the obtuse acting of his cast. Beached Miami ran a shorter version of my review, here: “‘World on a Wire’: Fassbinder’s sci-fi mindbender.”

Go through the hot links to Beached Miami for the reviews and the specific screening dates.

Hans Morgenstern

(Copyright 2011 by Hans Morgenstern. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.)

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