Berlinale: Programme

Film file

Berlinale Special

Unter Menschen

Redemption Impossible

In German:
Extracts from the panel discussion in the Haus der Berliner Festspiele with directors Christian Rost and Claus Strigel as well as Josef Schmuck from the Documentation Center for Species Protection in Graz, Austria. Moderation: Doris Metz

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Picture a life in a box measuring just six square metres, without daylight or contact to fellow members of the species. For years forty chimpanzees from Sierra Leone were used illegally in experiments aimed at developing Aids and hepatitis vaccines. After fifteen years, the Austrian pharmaceutical company Immuno abandon these tests as inconclusive, and a resocialisation project for these infected primates begins. The traumatised chimps are brought to a safari park near Vienna. Their female keepers know the animals from their time at the lab and have formed an emotional bond with them, which means they too were, in a way, imprisoned. Now they have to help these chimpanzees start a new life. In a belated attempt at reparation, the keepers try to teach the animals how to live in a community and become attuned to nature once more.
Christian Rost and Claus Strigel's film documents the decades-long dispute over these animals, looks at the complex relationship between humans and apes, and observes the meticulous planning involved in preparing the chimps for life in a group out in the open. The filmmakers also find striking images for the commercial branding of the chimps as safari park animals.

Germany 2012, 94 min


Christian Rost, Claus Strigel

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