Wednesday, Tarzan’s T. was screened in the inciting and friendly Cork Film Festival. The venue was the former Christchurch, today the Triskel Cultural Centre. The audience sits in benches, the organ is still there, but instead of the altar – there’s a screen. I found it a very appropriate place for our film, since religion … More Tarzan Goes to Church. In Cork.
“Tarzan’s Testicles” has been screened last night at the Pravo Ljudski Festival in Sarajevo. It was screened after Eisenstein’s “October”, in its beautiful remastered version with Edmund Meisel’s music. A daring and wise programming has put together the Revolution’s avant-garde monumental representation and the ruins of the same Revolution, as seen in Abkhazia 100 years … More The October Revolution. In Sarajevo.
Dear Zinaida Vsevolodovna, I remember when I first visited you at the Institute, in August 2011. You were 83 and picked up a book from a shelf in your office. It was called “The Formula of Life”. Your office was full of books, scientific but also literary. You were – as always – busy day … More Letter to Zinaida Vsevolodovna
“Our female colleagues are away, solving the demographic problem in Abkhazia”. This is one of the sentences I heard very often at the Institute. I was told many of the young women from the staff were on maternal leave. Indeed, the country badly needs to be repopulated. Half of the people vanished or fled during … More Mothers
In each film I made, there was (at least) one failed experiment. While making Tarzan’s Testicles, I had this idea of filming from inside the cages, to emulate somehow what monkeys see and look at people from beyond the bars. So we placed the camera for several days inside one of the free cages and we stayed … More The Caged Camera
We first met Chichiko when we went down to film in September-October 2015. He was a couple of months old then and Tania was very happy to show him around to the tourists roaming in the park of the Primate Institute. Chichiko was probably the 12th or 13th monkey that Tania has raised at home, … More Chichiko. The Superstar.
Making documentaries involves living together with your characters. It implies a lot of waiting, since the people you want to film can offer only parts of their lives to the camera. Often, your characters treat you as guests – you are guests into their lives. In a country like Abkhazia – and generally in the … More Waiting, Drinking and Filming
As soon as I visited the monkey colony in Sukhum, I felt death is a constant presence. The monkey’s life cycle is shorter, so it happens – now and then – that one of the cages remains empty. In those six years I worked on the film, some great characters disappeared, like The Professor or … More The Unseen: Birth and Death
I have a collection of Abkhaz visas: tiny colored pieces of paper that are not glued into my passport. These are my tangible proof that I visited a state which doesn’t exist on most of the world’s official maps. As soon as I crossed the border, my phone stopped working. It was impossible to pay … More The Abkhaz Dilemma
The creation of the Primate Institute in Sukhum, in 1927, is linked with Doctor Ivanov’s experiments and his plans to create a hybrid between man and ape. This piece of amazing history is what stirred me in the first place to make Tarzan’s Testicles. But Ivanov’s experiments where not at all isolated in the interwar period. Medicine … More When Man plays with Nature
When you visit Abkhazia – and hopefully you will, at least by watching Tarzan’s Testicles – you are struck by the feeling that this small world has been frozen 25 years ago. This comes not only from the Soviet relics that pop up here and there, but from a way of life. In the Primate … More Primates in the Cold War
As soon as I got to know the primatological world of Sukhum, I was struck by the generational gap that defines it. On one hand, there were the seniors, still coming to work at 85 years or more and running the business. On the other hand, the new generation of researchers was reaching its 30’s. … More Eternal Youth – a brief report
Screening the film in Sukhum for the protagonists and their colleagues. … More Returning Tarzan to Sukhum
August and 90 years. … More 90 Years / Coincidences