Search - Why Dogs Smile and Chimpanzees Cry on DVD

Why Dogs Smile and Chimpanzees Cry
Why Dogs Smile and Chimpanzees Cry
Actor: Sigourney Weaver
Director: Carol L. Fleisher
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Documentary
UR     2000     1hr 40min

Are animals closer to humans on an emotional level than generally has been believed? The many scientists, researchers, wildlife photographers, and other animal experts interviewed in this Discovery Channel video answer wi...  more »


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Movie Details

Actor: Sigourney Weaver
Director: Carol L. Fleisher
Creators: Biff Bracht, Carol L. Fleisher, David Grabias, Mark S. Hoover, Paula Deats
Genres: Special Interests, Educational, Documentary
Sub-Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Educational, Documentary
Studio: Family Home Ent
Format: DVD - Color
DVD Release Date: 04/11/2000
Original Release Date: 01/01/1999
Theatrical Release Date: 01/01/1999
Release Year: 2000
Run Time: 1hr 40min
Screens: Color
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 3
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

The bond between all creatures
Alejandra Vernon | Long Beach, California | 01/16/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This is a fascinating, and often quite moving documentary showing the emotional kinship between man and his fellow mammals. The film footage is remarkable, starting with the basic emotions that pertain to survival, "fear, aggression, and the urge to procreate", and then moves on to the more subtle feelings of joy, compassion, grief, loyalty, and even depression.
The caring of one another in animal societies is extraordinary, and shows the bonds of friendship between species of primates, meerkats, wolves, and many more.The section on maternal love is wonderful, with one exceptional segment by wildlife photographer Martyn Colbeck who follows a herd of elephants, and captures the tremendous patience and devotion exhibited towards a recently born calf as he struggles to walk. There are many instances of incredible sacrifice, including the story of a dog who saves a young boy.
It shows how rescue dogs can show signs of depression, and rats who laugh when they are tickled. I love the chimp who is looking at Gourmet Magazine, and points to pictures of pastries and signs "sweet".
As Dr. Roger Fouts of the Chimpanzee Human Communication Institute says, the difference between us and other animals is "one of degree, and not of kind".Produced, written and directed by Carol Fleisher, and calmly and carefully narrated by Sigourney Weaver, viewing this documentary is time well spent; it is informative as well as entertaining, but parents of young children should realize that though there is plenty of fun and frolic, it is far from being a cute animal film, and there are scenes of violence and tragedy. Total running time is 95 minutes."
sirentonga | San Diego, CA United States | 10/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This film is a landmark in blending science and advocacy. It seeks to assert that animals lead complex and sophisticated emotional lives, not unlike our own. But it manages to walk the fine line between subjectivity and objectivity. It avoids going too far into the subjective. It doesn't try to emotionally blackmail the viewer with mere cute/stagey displays of animal interaction. Instead it relies heavily on scientific observation in both natural and controlled environments. But by the sheer genious of editing and writing, one cannot help but be drawn into the lives of these noble creatures just as one would a good drama. The movie wisely lets the animals' behavior "do the talking", and doesn't try to push the viewers' judgement one way or the other. It left me rethinking everything I had assumed about animals, emotions, and the nature of our (and by 'our' I mean all of God's creatures) existence."
FULL of much research and wonderful images
Kevin Miller | Kirkland, WA United States | 09/30/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)

"This movie shows how closely related we humans are to mammals with scientific research and observation. It gives wonderful descriptions and examples of the differences between reptilian brains and mammillian brains. It is truly incomprehensible that some think that animals (mammals other than human) are not capable of such emotions as love, compassion, anger, loyalty, remorse, etc. At the end of the movie I was questioning if humans are de-evolving to reptile brains due to our parenting of our own offspring (or lack of parenting). Wonderful movie. I highly recommend it for all ages."
Beautiful film, even if the message is obvious.
E. Karasik | Washington, DC United States | 09/30/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Despite the fact that I think it's ridiculous to structure a film around the question of whether non-human beings experience emotions (only a species as arrogant and detached from nature as ours could even conceive of such a question), this film was extremely worthwhile. There were some interesting points, for instance: human anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications probably work on dogs because their brains are reasonably similar to ours; and fear is probably "the" universal emotion because it leads to survival-enhancing behavior. The footage on octopi, dogs, sea lions, rhesus monkeys, dolphins, elephants, and wolves, among other species, was beautiful to watch and often incredibly moving. While I'm glad that there is now a body of scientific work on this subject, many of us don't need science to understand that many species experience emotions as we do. Konrad Lorenz, though he was a fine scientist, was probably not relying on research when he said: "The fidelity of a dog is a precious gift demanding no less binding moral responsibilities than the friendship of a human being. The bond with a true dog is as lasting as the ties of this earth can ever be.""