Project Nim, a documentary that won raves at Sundance and is coming out in New York theaters this Friday, tells the story of Columbia University graduate student Stephanie Lafarge, who tried to raise a chimpanzee as a child in her Upper West Side apartment as part of a professor’s experiment. She taught the chimp, known as Nim, sign language, and even suckled the animal at her breasts. Why? “It was the 70’s!” The project became a huge sensation, and was groundbreaking scientifically.
Nim became a part of the family — until of course, he started to grow and became five times as strong as a human. That’s where the fun/tragedy/epic human folly starts.
The film was directed by the same guy who made Man on Wire, which I really enjoyed. I haven’t seen Project Nim, but I read the synopsis and I won’t spoil it for you. Check out the trailer below, and if you’re interested in writing a review of it for the West Side Rag, let me know!
Film still from Project Nim.