A brilliant and horrifying depiction of a hideous disease
I find it incredible that such a marvellous documentary should have such an absurdly low rating. Kuru: The Science and the Sorcery is at once a great piece of anthropological documentary, an exciting medical detective story, and a shocking and extremely moving piece of human tragedy. It is difficult to see how it could have been better made. It is also an important piece of medical speculation, given the relevance of the discoveries about kuru to the ongoing problems prompted by the British Government's shocking mismanagement of the "mad cow disease" epidemic and the very real risk that new victims of that sorry incident will continue to come to light.
The "review" by Mr Zigas is very scornful of the fact that his father's work was ignored by the film-makers. I can understand Mr Zigas feeling so hurt by their failure to even mention the doctor's work, but it is usual for documentary producers, working on a limited budget and limited run-time, to cut out anything not directly relevant to their main theme, which in this case was the work of Professor Alpers. It certainly does not imply that they were intending to slight Dr Zigas. It is a great pity that Mr Zigas himself says almost nothing about his father's work and how much he discovered, so the significance of his complaints is difficult to gauge. It is interesting to note that Professor Alpers gave considerable credit to Dr Zigas in his published article "The epidemiology of kuru", so it is most unlikely that he is to blame for the omission.
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