Koko, le gorille qui parle (Koko, a Talking Gorilla) - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Koko, le gorille qui parle (Koko, a Talking Gorilla) Reviews

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February 21, 2013
Endlessly fascinating and beautifully photographed by the master, Nestor Almendros.
½ February 17, 2013
An interesting, thought-provoking film.
February 10, 2013
How far can communication go to blur the line between animal and man?
January 1, 2013
I remember the book Koko's Kitten. Who knew a really good documentary about Koko existed? It is fascinating to watch the gorilla get down with sign language.
June 6, 2011
This is just utterly fascinating. I've also seen the more recent documentary of Koko as an adult. People so easily forget that animals have thoughts and feelings, and this film that shows that we are no better than them.
½ March 21, 2011
If I knew that what I took away from this was the intended effect, would give 4 stars. But I think it's an incidental reading as a result of the passage of time.
½ November 12, 2010
penny patterson is sooo lucky! like the surprise at 20 mins into 55 min movie
August 25, 2010
I remember the book Koko's Kitten. Who knew a really good documentary about Koko existed. It is fascinating to watch the gorilla get down with sign language
August 17, 2010
For a documentary, this is fairly standard, but the subject is more fascinating than any documentary I've ever seen.

It's impossible to imagine anyone watching this and not coming away with the conclusion that that teaching a gorilla is not a gimmick. This animal not only communicates with her trainer, but also other trainers and even other gorillas. By doing things like combining signs so she can better express herself, she should prove beyond a doubt that she is an intelligent being.

Again, it might not be a particularly well constructed documentary, but the subject is so engaging, it's tough to avoid.
½ January 21, 2010
A compelling documentary, though perhaps not for the reasons Schroeder intends. There's no denying Koko possesses intelligence, she does communicate on some level. But what's more striking are the MANY instances where her trainer obviously fills in the gaps for her, guides her answers, or creatively interprets her fumblings as conversation. After a while you get the feeling that all Koko ever really talks about is wanting more food or being tired of the training.
December 1, 2009
enjoyable documentary done properly, objectively and artistically. dr. penny patterson, koko's surrogate mother of sorts, never comes off timothy treadwell-level; koko's still treated as a gorilla albeit a gifted gorilla. barbet schroeder did an excellent job focusing on the koko and her relationship with patterson, acknowledging issues such as patterson's safety and the definition of "human" without taking an activist stance. there are legitimate arguments on any sides of these issues represented, and i applaud schroeder for keeping the camera as neutral as possible.
November 21, 2009
Given the current interest in things animal, this is a fascinating documentary from the late 70s that has enough material for a cultural studies paper in almost every scene. The capacity for speech, in practice, is really much less impressive than those running the study suggest is evident (so much is just translated impulse), but the questions it raises (especially in relation to disabilities studies) are still very pertinent.
September 6, 2009
I found this movie to be a very thought provoking film on the very nature of humanity: language. Communication and language often describes intelligence. However, is a scientific study that introduces human language to a gorilla ethical? It sure is neat to see a talking gorilla, but I can't say if it's right. And in a wonderful way, neither does the film.

"Koko, a Talking Gorilla," is the story of a gorilla that can perform sign language and can therefore, communicate. The scientists even confide stories of Koko making up words for herself as well as lying. She has a definite and distinct personality; one that is uniquely hers. Unfortunately, the film is rather bogged down with extended shots of not much happening. Or rather, it felt like I was watching the same 10-15 minutes of footage for an hour, and then the film got quite interesting.

But maybe that's the point isn't it? After all, this film is a profile on Koko. We are supposed to see how Koko lives her life. Maybe my boredom was her boredom. Penny Patterson, the lead scientist, not only needs to repeat herself several times to Koko, but is also rather scolding towards her. It's like watching a mother trying to get her 2 year old daughter to talk to her non-stop. It gets annoying. It gets old. It gets uncomfortable.

If language is the nature of humanity - that is, if the reason humans are different from the animals is in our ability to communicate and relate to one another, then who are we to try to "humanize" an animal?

On the other hand, Koko doesn't know any better. The camera convincingly shows her as an animal. She is not human. Any sense of humanization can't get past the fact that this is a gorilla. This animal will never be able to talk in order to truly express herself. She'll never know she doesn't act like a gorilla. Just like how she'll never know she doesn't act like a human. If she knew, she'd no longer be a gorilla.

Like I said, this movie is beautifully unbiased. It's constructed to present both sides of the issue in equal light without favoring either. After watching, I was sympathetic for everyone and I was sympathetic for no one. It was exactly what the title said it was going to be. I got a profile of Koko, a talking gorilla.
July 30, 2009
An interesting documentary from Barbet Schroeder who was known often making films with one of the French Nouvella Vague, Eric Rohmer. Schroeder even "borrowed" Rohmer usual cinematographer Nestor Almendros taking this engaging, sometimes touching, and mostly funny about a famous female Gorilla, Koko who understands around 1000 American Sign Language which usually used by deaf person.

Koko was teached by her patron Dr Penny Patterson. She could tickle a lady and asking the lady to tickle her back, asking for more apples, and even requesting dr Penny to wear her the red sweater not the orange ones when they want to take a walk.

A genuine look at the everyday lives of the amazing gorilla.
July 29, 2009
An insightful look into the study of an amazing gorilla named Koko. Koko is an absolute star, who after years in the care of Penny Patterson has become truly immersed in the skill of sign language. Koko's range of emotion is humbling and awe-inspiring. Yes, ethical questions are raised. It's a bit of a dilemma when we see all that this beautiful creature is capable of and at the same time recognize this may not be Koko's intended environment. The fact that man butchers these beautiful beings and has them on the brink of extinction in the wild is shameful to say the least. "Koko: A Talking Gorilla" will open eyes, hearts, and minds alike. Thank you Koko, I am humbled.
July 14, 2009
An absorbing and thought-provoking documentary.
April 14, 2009
A fascinating documentary that asks several interesting questions, while exposing the absurd sense of privilege and self-importance that defines humanity.
October 19, 2008
Really interesting doc on a gorilla taught sign language by scientists. Makes me want to rewatch PROJECT X, oddly enough.
½ October 10, 2008
Hm. Fascinating. But the footage isn't as revelatory as I was expecting. Most of the "amazing" things of which Koko is capable is told in the perma-grinning hippie-patois of Penny Patterson's talking head interviews. And she's quick to elaborate on Koko's less-than-dextrous signing. But there are a few "oh, wow" moments--one of which involves Penny asking Koko "why are you sad?" to which she receives a very confused and, dare-I-say, human reticence...
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