SMOKING CHIMP

01.21.11

The True-ish Story of the Lovable Pot-Smoking Chimp

The director of "Man on Wire" is back with a new documentary about a chimpanzee living in Manhattan.

Who knew that a chimp could get in the middle of a human love triangle? And enjoy the pleasures of marijuana?

2008 Sundance Grand Jury (and 2009 Oscar) winner Director James Marsh, evidently, whose new documentary, Project Nim, is about the chimpanzee (Nim), who in the 1970s was taken from his mother and sent to live with a bunch of Upper West Side hippies in a nature-versus-nature experiment gone terribly wrong.

nim-chimpsky-sundance
Nim Chimpsky in the film, Project Nim. (Credit: Harry Benson) (Laporte Sundance Chimp)

The film is mostly tragic, but Marsh has an uncanny eye for the comedic and perverse elements in his story, which went over well with the packed house at the historic Egyptian Theater Thursday night. The tiny screen, cramped seats and no line in the ladies room was a reminder that we are not in L.A. anymore! Which, of course, is precisely the appeal of this festival—it still feels homey, despite what everyone says about all the limos and swag. With hot chocolate, and a neighbor who kindly did not spill too much of his puffy jacket onto our seat, we adjusted.

To read the rest of Nicole's post on Sundance Channel, click here