Dir. Nicolas Philibert, 2010, France, 70min, DCP, Color
With Nénette, Judit Kele
In French with English subtitles
This intimate 2010 documentary chronicles the captive life of a 40-year-old orangutan who was born in the forests of Borneo before becoming the unrivaled star of Paris’ Jardin des Plantes. Residing among the Jardin’s menagerie since 1972, when she arrived at age three, Nénette’s residency has outlasted every member of its staff. Through the years, she’s had three mates and four babies, and her distinct personality has made her a figure of interest to the hundreds of visitors who file past her enclosure each day. This thought-provoking story, told from the perspective of Nénette, is essential viewing for animal lovers and those fascinated by the primate psyche.
2010 Berlinale Film Festival
“Beautiful in its minimalism, ‘Nénette’ is no antizoo rant but a melancholy meditation on captivity.” –NYT Critic’s Pick
“It’s impossible to watch Nicolas Philibert’s new film without a Darwinian frisson of anxiety, and an animal-liberationist spasm of rage…It’s an absorbing, contemplative film that compels us to participate rather than just sit back and look.”
“The collection of images and tidbits of information raise interesting questions about keeping animals in captivity.” –Washington Post