Saturday, January 9, 2010

The genius and the boys

Carleton Gajdusek was one of the world´s greatest genius, and also a man who has been convicted for having sex with a foster-son.

Carleton Gajdusek discovered a completely new form of infection - the human mad cow disease among cannibal Papua New Guineans.
He is a scientist and a hero of other scientists. He is also someone whose friends and family are from a variety of cultures, different social classes, and from all over the world - subsistence farmers on Papua New Guinea, billionaires in New York, top thinkers in the Ukraine, Nobel-prize winners all around the globe, the young intelligentsia of China.

Carleton Gajdusek claims himself to be a pedophile on the same lines "as Jesus Christ". According to the FBI, he has adopted 57 children from Papua New Guinea, Micronesia and elsewhere, and brought them up at his home close to the National Institutes of Health, close to Washington DC.

This documentary film explores an extraordinary 20th century life, full of contradiction. How is it that humans can switch within milliseconds, between total intelligence, and total self-delusion? What is the nature of true exploration?

Reviews after the BBC broadcast June 2009

The Times:
What was impressive about the film, however, was that its knee did not jerk in easy outrage. The boys came from a society where paedophilia was a rite of passage. Only very few of them have, apparently, anything but loving memories of Gajdusek. Was it, Lindquist´s wise commentary implied, worse to import another country´s mores to America than to impose American standards on foreigners? For most of Gajdusek´s peers - including the sinologist Judith Farquhar, the neurologist Oliver Sacks, and Robert Gallo, who discovered HIV - what Gajdusek did in bed seemed largely irrelevant. But Gajdusek cannot be let off.

The Independent
...Carleton Gajdusek was a name unfamiliar to me before I watched Bosse Lindquist´s engrossing Storyville documentary, The Genius and the Boys. I learnt that Gajdusek was a brilliant Nobel Prize-winning scientist, born in New York in 1923, who discovered the particles that cause mad cow disease. ....a conviction for the sexual abuse of children having wrecked his once-illustrious reputation....

Original Title: Gadjusek - the genius and the Boys
Genre: Documentary
Duration: 84'
Year of Production:2009
Producer: Bosse Lindquist
Produced by: Eight Millimeters AB and SVT

SPECIAL THANKS TO allen grubesic that told me about the documentary.

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