Search - Homo Sapiens 1900 on DVD

Homo Sapiens 1900
Homo Sapiens 1900
Actors: Jan Holmquist, Stephen Rappaport
Director: Peter Cohen
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary, Military & War
NR     2004     1hr 25min

HOMO SAPIENS 1900 is a stunning exploration of the history of eugenics, race hygiene and the quest to improve the human race. Emerging at the turn of the century, eugenic movements spawned government sanctioned research pr...  more »


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Movie Details

Actors: Jan Holmquist, Stephen Rappaport
Director: Peter Cohen
Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary, Military & War
Sub-Genres: Indie & Art House, Documentary, Military & War
Studio: First Run Features
Format: DVD - Color - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 09/21/2004
Release Year: 2004
Run Time: 1hr 25min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 6
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Eugenics- The cathexis of science by ideology
Spunk Monkey | The pit of despair | 11/27/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is film as literature. A dense, intelligent, thought provoking meditation on the (then) psuedo-science of eugenics, and how nascent and undeveloped scientific ideas can become the battlefield on which political ideologies wage war. In particular, the film shows that far from being the creation of Hitler and the Nazi party, eugenics theories and policies were widespread in the United States as well as in Europe. At one point, twenty US States had sterilization laws on the books. The Soviet Union also had it own form of eugenics it tried in implement so as to create the "new socialist man." If you don't know your Mendalism from your Lamarkiansim from your Lysenjoism; or if you can't tell your positive eugenics from your negative eugenics; or if you were unaware that the nudist movement was a result of eugenics ideas, you should really watch this riveting documentary. It inspired a research project for me and made me aware of the fact that with the patenting of the 60,000 human genes, eugenics is an issue we should all learn more about so as to prepare us for it's future formations and dangers. A brilliant film from a brilliant film maker. Also see this filmakers other documentary masterwork- The Architecture of Doom."
A Prequel to 21st Century Bioengineering Issues
Erin Campbell | Minneapolis, MN | 03/08/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Peter Cohen's documentary provides an excellent overview of racial hygiene programs fostered by 20th century governments that sought to create utopian societies and citizens. The issues raised by this film are even more pertinent in the 21st century as pharmaceuticals and genetic engineering are already interceding into the natural biological functioning of human beings. Pressure is being brought to bear by society and corporations for even higher levels of individual performance and physical appearance. Science is being used to enable individuals to go beyond what would normally be humanly possible. There has been little public discussion of the implications of these bio-ethical issues as companies rush to patent bioengineering technology. Cohen's documentary is a good starting point to see where this merger of science and the desire for human perfectability began.

Other sources I would recommend:

"Theory of Evolution: A History of Controversy," taught by Prof. Edward J. Larsen. This is a college course available on DVD through The Teaching Company. Prof. Larsen explains the scientific theories (e.g., Lamarkianism) that are mentioned in Cohen's documentary. He also addresses the issue of eugenics.

"Better Than Well: American Medicine Meets the American Dream," a fascinating and even entertaining book by Carl Elliott, a professor of bioethics at the Univ. of Minnesota."
Interesting viewing
Gail Whitehurst | UK | 09/12/2009
(4 out of 5 stars)

This make interesting, if sometimes uncomfortable viewing. It spans the years introducing you to different systems and regimes in which the rise of white, educated and 'normal' people were the basis of some countries idealistic views to a propsperous and powerful future. This is not just about Hitler and Germany, but delves before this time, where perhaps surprisingly it uncovers that it was not just the Germans who had the view that 'white supremacy' was the way forward. Needs to be viewed with an open mind and looked at with a view to the 'bigger picture' that these people were attempting to obtain."