VIFF 2019: Human Nature


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      Employing a stately chapter format appropriate to its subject, this absorbing doc examines the revolutionary gene-manipulation tech CRISPR—or splitting the atom part deux, if you like. Designer babies? Super soldiers? Backwards feet? Experts express their fearful awe at CRISPR’s possibilities, although some seem a bit drunk on the science.

      Crucially, the film focuses early on young David Sanchez, stricken for his entire life with sickle-cell anemia. The cure is within reach, yet the remarkably thoughtful teen is clear on the significance of his suffering. Not all the eggheads here are so subtle in their thinking.