DOK Leipzig 28 October – 3 November 2019
62nd International Leipzig Festival for Documentary and Animated Film
DOK Leipzig Film Festival

Curiosity and Control

Curiosity and Control

In the 19th century, dioramas were a kind of predecessor of the movies. Taxidermy animals from distant countries were to be presented in the most lifelike environments possible. The US scientist and sculptor Carl Akeley is considered the father of taxidermy. He created groundbreaking dioramas for the New York Museum of Natural History in the early 20th century. In the 1920s he was the first man to film mountain gorillas and changed from hunter to dedicated animal protectionist. His biography reflects both the social changes in our attitude to animals and technical progress.

Based on a portrait of the pioneering Akeley, “Curiosity and Control” addresses the different ways animals are presented in natural history museums and zoos, critically exploring various perspectives. What is man’s relation to the fauna? It’s marked by curiosity and control: the former drove early scientists to collect, own, and systematise animals since the early expeditions – and preserve them from extinction. Ownership, however, also generates dominance. Is it permissible to keep other species in cages? No matter how “natural” and humane the zoo architecture is: “You will see something that looks like an elephant. But it’s not behaving like a wild elephant,” a zoo director says. Another dilemma.

Annina Wettstein


Original Title: Curiosity and Control Country: Sweden Year: 2018 Language: English Subtitle: English Runtime: 58 min. Format: DCP Color: Colour and B&W Director: Albin Biblom Producer: Adam Marko-Nord, Sara Waldestam Cinematographer: Albin Biblom Editor: Bernhard Winkler Music: Goran Kajfes, David Österberg Sound: David Österberg Script: Albin Biblom

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