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Filmmaker David Lebrun casts his eye on the evolution of art, science, and the world around us in this fusion of documentary and experimental forms. Ernst Haeckel was a 19th Century biologist with a keen interest in art; he found a way to merge these two disciplines when he published the book Art Forms in Nature, in which he offered detailed sketches of nearly 4,000 different single-celled organisms. As Lebrun tells the story of Haeckel and his work, he meditates upon the vision shared by the artists and scientist and other great minds of the age, and uses Haeckel's images as a jumping off… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 28%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Grounded by the stark physicality of the location and the emotional charge generated by those prison-bound passions (Jean Genet would have approved)."
‑ Jason Anderson, Globe and Mail
"Involving and affecting even if it is not completely coherent or fully realized."
‑ Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times
"The problem with Proteus is that the issues tend to overwhelm the story, and one is never fully engaged in the narrative."
‑ Liz Braun, Jam! Movies
"The biggest failing of the movie is that it focuses on the scientific experiments and the facts of the case instead of the emotion of the situation."
‑ Cherryl Dawson and Leigh Ann Palone,
"Homophobia and hyprocisy, history and legend, racism and jealousy, cruelty and love all figure in -- and prove too much."
‑ Donald J. Levit, ReelTalk Movie Reviews
"Is it a movie or the best-designed episode of Nova ever?"
‑ Michael Atkinson, Village Voice
"Carries an air of forced-wit experimentation that never quite gets its anachronisms in order."
‑ Chuck Wilson, L.A. Weekly
"David Lebrun's wonderful documentary brings Haeckel's artistic and scientific triumph to life through a beautifully written narration."
‑ Ken Fox, TV Guide's Movie Guide
"An intelligently rendered film (shot on video) that doesn't seek to make its central characters overtly sympathetic even as it stresses the human rights so thoughtlessly or deliberately denied them."
‑ Bridget Byrne, Boxoffice Magazine
"Problematic on almost all levels."
‑ Mary Brennan, Seattle Times
"Clearly attempting to make the story relevant for contemporary times, they use a variety of stylistic devices that serves to have the opposite effect, distancing us from a story that might have been far more compelling if rendered in a direct fashion."
‑ Frank Scheck, Hollywood Reporter
"Frankly steamed sex scenes spice the film from John Greyson and Jack Lewis, gaining it entry to gay festivals but only momentarily rousing it from the fetid doldrums of a fatiguingly 'instructive' story."
‑ David Elliott, San Diego Union-Tribune
"... the story of lust, love and betrayal intriguingly bemoans racism and prejudice of bygone times while peppering the 'history' with more modern references ..."
‑ S. James Wegg, JWR
More reviews for Proteus on Rotten Tomatoes