Nenette is an enchanting lady in her fortieth year, and the oldest resident of the Menagerie du Jardin des Plantes in Paris. She is also an orangutan. Famed documentarian Nicolas Philibert (To Be and to Have) sensitively captures her engaging personality in this “fascinating study” (San Francisco Chronicle) of life lived behind a zoo’s walls.
Born in 1969 in Borneo and brought to France in 1972, Nenette has spent the vast majority of her life in captivity, but it has not been a bore. She has outlived three husbands, borne four children, and baffled zookeepers with her inscrutable mood swings. Philibert fixes his camera on her for the entire running time, revealing both a disdainful diva and a kind, mournful soul. Her enigmatic gaze begs for interpretation, raising serious questions about the morality of caging animals. Even her keepers speculate as to the thoughts percolating behind her aged brow.
NENETTE is an “absorbing, contemplative film” (The Guardian), and essential viewing for animal lovers the world over. It searches for the spirit of an orangutan, and finds it.