Celebrity apes are the subject of the observational documentary See No Evil. Cheeta is the last of the apes to play the sidekick of Tarzan and is celebrating his birthday; Kanzi communicates with his trainer via a touchscreen computer and is learning to bond with his son Teco; Knuckles was the was subject a number of scientific tests, including space travel, and is now barely able to move. These three stories, plus an epilogue in memory of deceased ape named Roger, showcase the connection between these animals and their human counterparts.
Over the course of See No Evil, the film moves between happiness and heartbreak. It would be next to impossible to watch the human-like behaviours of Cheeta or Kanzi playing with Teco and not have a huge smile on your face. On the other hand, the story of Knuckles is a bit more sad, since his chapter contrasts his limping movements with archive footage of the experiments he was subject to.
As humanity’s closest ancestor, it is quite amazing much like us apes can be. These animals are past their prime, however at least in the case of the first two chapters, they still seem to be full of life. While it is noted at one point that they still remain dangerous, despite years in captivity, these apes often seem more like people than wild animals. Overall, See No Evil is a touching reflection of these aging primates.
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- Sat, May 3, 7:00 PM – TIFF Bell Lightbox 2