Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Documentary: Project Nim

Project Nim was a documentary I watched recently by myself. The project tells the story of a chimp who is taken from his mother at birth and raised like a human child by also learning sign language.

I really liked this documentary, I feel that it really played with my emotions and because it was a feature length documentary, it had many emotions to share.

Most of the footage of Nim was archive from the family and other resources, which shows that Marsh has researched and used a lot of relevant data to present this documentary's purpose to it's audience. It shows the chimp from being a baby, growing up, good points and bad points up until Nim's death.

This style of documentary uses interview and sound bites throughout to tell the story, rather than using a narrator. The film uses cutaway to move from one bite to another which works amazingly well with the shots used within. The edit is smooth and seamless almost, it's used to create emotion. The edit is bias to those involved within the interviews - you see mainly their point of view and therefore emphasise with them.

The subject is to the side, talking to the side of the camera. I like that the background is plain because it allows you to focus on what he is saying rather than where he is. The set up of these shots are continuously set up perfectly in regards to lighting and space. I also like the fact that once again the interview style changes with each person, for example, one of the ladies being interviewed is sat straight, looking straight behind the camera. It gives each person their own character in a way...

The sound is used very cleverly to play with your emotions and set the scene of a certain situation. For example when you first are introduced to Nim (as an audience member, of course) it's soft music, lighthearted to create empathy for the chimp and make you feel happy or feel that it's cute. The music tends to play on the emotion of whether the project was the right thing to do or not. When the good parts of the project are shown, the music is quite upbeat and positive, whereas the bad points are accompanied by quite droning, almost unsettling music to make your mood as a viewer change. It's showing you the project in full, the for and against almost to allow the audience to decide whether they think it was right to do this or not. 

Overall I enjoyed the documentary, the use of sound and edit techniques work effortlessly to create an emotional work. 

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