Alexandru Solomon’s “Tarzan’s Testicles”: A Film Review

By Alexandru Lesanu

Nowadays, filmmakers do not like to explain their movies. The viewers are left alone with their ideas and interpretations. The paradigm of movie watching could be shortly described as “you are allowed to make your own ideas and to interpret the movies as you like and I [the director] will not impose my own opinions on you.” Like in any other contemporary jobs, the filmmakers no longer represent the genius creators of a certain Golden Age. Being just ordinary professionals, they do not want to pose as experts but rather assume a symmetric attitude towards the viewers.

Alexandru Solomon

On March 1, the Romanian film director Alexandru Solomon assumed the same role while presenting his most recent documentary “Tarzan’s Testicles” to the participants of the Winter Academy. In addition to the intriguing title, the synopsis promises a film about Soviet and post-Soviet experiments with monkeys at a research institute in Abkhazia, – a post-Soviet quasi-state often regarded as equally affected by experiments, of the social engineering kind. In less than two hours, Solomon manages to juxtapose the cruel scientific experiments conducted by humans on monkeys and the equally cruel outcomes of the numerous wars fought by humans against other humans in Abkhazia.

Amidst the idyllic landscape of the sunny and luxurious tropical vegetation, the film takes us through the dilapidated buildings with bullet holes as reminders of previous armed conflicts. As if this fact alone is not enough to convey the idea that both hell and heaven can coexist very well alongside each other nowhere more than here among us and within us, the director chooses to play humans against monkeys and to show that the animal kingdom is not very different from what we want to call human society.


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