Curiosity and Control

  • Production: Alphaville AB
  • Co-Production: The Swedish Television/Kspecial, Emelie Persson
  • Director: Albin Biblom
  • Music: Goran Kajfes, David Österberg
  • Length: 58 Minutes
  • Country: Sweden
  • Distribution: FILMKULTUR

Can we reconstruct nature? Do we go to zoos to learn? And for whom are we really preserving nature? Curiosity and Control explores the fine line between curiosity, domination, love and control. In the process, the relationship between humans, animals and nature is illuminated through a documentary “journey through time” through zoological gardens and natural history museums from New York to Stockholm. We get to know this world through the eyes of historians, architects, zoo directors and museologists. Beginning with the story of naturalist Carl Akeley and the first film recordings of wild mountain gorillas. 

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Festival Selections

Dok Leipzig, Tempo Festival, Innsbruck Nature Film Festival, InScience Film Festival, International Nature Film Festival, CinemaAmbiente Torino, AFO55 Film Festival, Seoul Eco Film Festival

With support by

The Swedish Film Institute/Cecilia Lidin, The Swedish Arts Grants Committee, Nordvision, Yle & DR

Well-known interview partners

Penelope Bodry-Sanders, Kieran Stanley, David Hancocks, Stephen C. Quinn, Dale Jamieson, Peter Van Mensch, Éric Baratay, Michel Saint-Jalme, Mark Pilgrim


About the Film

Curiosity and Control is about our relation to the natural world. Filmed in New York, Chester, Paris, Berlin and Stockholm, the film is a journey through museums of natural history and zoological gardens with reflections upon these by historians, architects, zoo directors and a museologist.

The stories deal with wonder, curiosity, control, the urge to protect and how to connect with the natural world. The film also portrays the legendary explorer Carl Akeley, who is often called “the father of taxidermy” and his creation of the dioramas at the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Included in Curiosity and Control is Carl Akeleys first ever filmed footage of wild mountain gorillas. These early dioramas were intended to spread awareness about the natural world just as contemporary zoological gardens aim to connect people with nature. 

As we follow the construction of an extension of Chester Zoo, UK, called “Islands”-an immersion exhibit resembling South East Asia, the participants discuss how nature was presented in the past and present; Can nature be reconstructed, do we learn anything in zoos and for whom do we really preserve nature? Curiosity and Control explores the thin line between curiosity, dominion, love and control.

our statement


Our complex relation to nature involves the thin line between admiration and exploitation as well as bringing order into the world that surrounds us. As former zoo director David Hancock’s put’s it: “There’s a fine line between loving something and possessing it”. Curiosity and Control inevitably encourages viewers to consider their own relationship to animals and nature. The film succeeds in offering a completely value-free and balanced basis for this discourse.


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