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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Holocaust > Gay > Homo Sapiens 1900 (Documentary)

Homo Sapiens 1900 (Documentary)


Picture: C+     Sound: C+     Extras: D     Film: B



In another important, disturbing portrait of science and ideology gone wrong, director Peter Cohen (whose incredible Architecture Of Doom is reviewed elsewhere on this site) gives us Homo Sapiens 1900 (1999).  This is about the quackery, insanity and genocide that resulted in the false science of Eugenics, an attempt at “race hygiene” that lead to all kinds of terrible experiments, atrocities and help Fascism rise.


Through stills, silent film clips and some very well researched history, dark secrets are uncovered and the path to ruin exposed for all to see.  Early on we see a clip from The Black Stork (1916, Chapter 4), which is essentially a snuff film where real life Doctor Harry Hazelton (as another doctor) kills an infant on camera by refusing life-saving operations on the deformed infant on camera as he would for untold others, go through with fatal surgeries, and denying the comfort of even a blanket to this one unnamed child on camera.


Later, we see those who opposed Eugenics and how others saw it as a golden opportunity and excuse to do what they pleased to millions of defenseless people.  The number of people sterilized is insane and shockingly untold.  Part of this is because there are too many these days who would like to try a revised version of this quackery again.  This runs 85 minutes and could have run for 185 minutes and still been interesting.  This is definitely one part of the past we do not want to forget, so we do not repeat it.


The full frame 1.33 X 1 image is varied throughout, as one would expect from a documentary, but it looks good.  The Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo is limited, has no surrounds and the narrator’s voice has some slight break-up throughout not unlike what happened with Tom Cruise on the Stanley Kubrick – A Life In Pictures DVD documentaries.  For all the sound formats to date on DVD where this was a problem, this has only surfaced on Dolby encoded tracks, for whatever reason, but it is only an occurrent problem here.  18 stills and other information on other related First Run Features titles (plus three trailers) are included, but that is all.  As has been the case in previous Cohen works, it is unbelievable this material has been under wraps for so long, but is another vital eye-opener that is required viewing for all.



-   Nicholas Sheffo


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