PRIMATE presents the daily activities of Yerkes Primate Research Center. Scientists in the film are concerned with studying the physical and mental development of primates. Some of the experimental work shown in the film deals with the capacity to learn, remember, and apply language and manual skills; the effect of alcohol and drugs on behavior; the control of aggressive and sexual behavior; and other neural and physiological determinants of behavior.
It is essentially about one set of primates who have power, using it against another who haven’t… Wiseman found no Frankensteins during his apparently very amicable visit to the centre; just nice people adding to the sum of human knowledge by subtracting from the sum of humanity itself.
–Derek Malcolm, The (London) Guardian
PRIMATE ostensibly has to do with the routine investigations of primate life and behavior (notably sexual behavior) which are conducted at the Yerkes Primate Research Center in Atlanta. What it’s actually about is scientific research: its seemingly accepted presence in American life, and its ambiguous purposes.
–Michael Arlen, The New Yorker