Sukhum is the capital of Abkhazia, a tiny, unrecognized republic on the shores of the Black Sea. On its highest hill lies a medical institute of research on monkeys, established by the Soviets in the 1920s. Legend states that it was meant to create a hybrid between man and ape. This creature never came to life, neither did the communist New Man. Today, men and monkeys are caged in a territory ravaged by war and decades of cruelty, both victims of a failed series of experiments.
Original Title: OUALE LUI TARZAN
Countries: Romania, France
Duration: 107 min.
Directed by Alexandru Solomon
Written by Alexandru Solomon
Produced by Ada Solomon, Cedric Bonin, Pascaline Geoffroy
Director of Photography: Radu Gorgos
This film takes us to a country that doesn't exist on international maps. It was born from the ashes of a system supposed to bring only happiness to humanity: Soviet communism. In the capital of this country lies a relic of another utopia: that of Science, which was meant to solve the rest of our problems. None of this happened. Here, human and non-human primates look into each other's eyes. Humans cling to their hopes, while inflicting pain to the monkeys. Animals are brought to life in cages, with no other end in sight. And people live in a limbo, stuck between the memories of a savage war and a present that doesn't offer much. We slide among these post-utopian ruins; we travel on the thin border between humanity and its animal nature; we look for a crumb of faith. What is left to cling to?
In the early 1990s, Alexandru Solomon emerged as a young director of photography, making documentary and fiction films. He was among the first Romanian filmmakers who committed themselves to a then compromised genre; today, he is one of the leading political filmmakers coming out of Romania and active on the international documentary scene. His recent work triggered public debates about the function of documentary film within the public sphere and contributed to re-establishing documentary film as an arena for re-framing Romania's recent history.