Screening & Live Event | Wild Lives: Ming of Harlem and Meshie, Child of a Chimpanzee
Where: Museum of the Moving Image
36-01 35th Ave.
718-777-6888 Price: $7-$15
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With director Phillip Warnell and animal cognition researcher Diana Reiss in conversation, and including a special appearance by Harry Raven
The bizarre scenario that can result from people cohabiting with animals is on view in two documentaries from different eras. In 1931, Henry Cushier Raven, the American Museum of Natural History’s Curator of Human and Comparative Anatomy, returned from West Africa to his home in Long Island with a baby chimpanzee named Meshie. Raven shot a home movie-style documentary of Meshie living, playing with, and taking care of his young kids Harry, Jane, and Mary. Meshie, Child of a Chimpanzee (1932, 51 mins.) is part of the American Museum of Natural History’s Library, and was preserved with support from the National Film Preservation Foundation. Science on Screen will present the restored 35mm print, the first time the film will be screened for a public audience. Harry Raven, six-years-old when his father filmed he and Meshie, is now 91. He will be in attendance to introduce the film and participate in the post-screening question and answer session. (Meshie is now taxidermied and installed in the Hall of Primates at the American Museum of Natural History.)
In 2003, a 450-pound Siberian-Bengal tiger named Ming and a seven-foot alligator named Al were found to have been living over three years in an apartment in a public housing complex in Harlem, with a man named Antoine Yates. Phillip Warnell’s award-winning documentary Ming of Harlem: Twenty One Stories in the Air (2014, 71 mins.) juxtaposes interview, observational, and reconstructed footage of Yates, Ming, and Al to create an outlandish work that regards the human-animal bond.
Meshie, Child of a Chimpanzee and Ming of Harlem will screen back-to-back in a two-hour film program that will be followed by a conversation between director Phillip Warnell and pioneering animal cognition researcher Diana Reiss, Professor of Psychology in the Animal Behavior and Comparative Psychology Doctoral program at CUNY.
Credits: Meshie, Child of a Chimpanzee courtesy the American Museum of Natural History. Special thanks to the American Museum of Natural History’s Director of the Department of Library Services Tom Baione; Special Collections and Research Librarian Gregory Raml; Digital Systems Librarian Jen Cwiok; and New Media Content Manager Erin Chapman.
Tickets: $15 ($11 seniors and students / $7 youth (ages 3–17) / free for children under 3 and Museum members at the Film Lover and Kids Premium levels and above). Order tickets online. (Members may contact [email protected] with questions regarding online reservations.)
Ticket purchase includes same-day admission to the Museum (see gallery hours). View the Museum’s ticketing policy here. For more information on membership and to join online, visit our membership page.Buy tickets/get more info now