Make People Better – Hot Docs 2022

Make People Better

Make People Better – Hot Docs 2022

In 2018, Dr. He Jiankui made the first “designer babies.” How? With DNA technology. Genetically sequencing twins under the radar, he managed to procreate without any need for the human body-and was labelled a mad scientist and an outcast.

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A Chinese geneticist goes missing after developing the world's first genetically-modified humans in . In 2018, Chinese scientist Dr. He “JK” Jiankui made headlines when it was revealed he genetically modified two newborn twins named Lulu and Nana to be immune to HIV. The backlash was swift and JK was taken into custody. However, despite being portrayed as a rogue scientist, JK's experiments were supported by China's government and top US scientists, with it only being a matter of time before “super babies” become the norm.

Make People Better is a documentary by Cody Sheehy about the Chinese scientist who crossed the line when it comes to genetically modified human beings. However, despite the ethical concerns about such a development, the science has been moving in this direction for decades, with In-Vitro Fertilization being just as taboo as it was developed in 1978. When his experiments lead to the birth of genetically-modified twins, Dr. He “JK” Jiankui quickly becomes the public scapegoat of the international outcry, with the Chinese authorities quickly making him disappear.

Make People Better is a film that is a real-life thriller, while also contemplating the ethical concerns surrounding genetic engineering. Since Dr. He “JK” Jiankui has already opened pandora's box in regards to developing genetically-modified humans, it only seems to be a matter of time before this becomes a more normal practice. Altogether, Make People Better is definitely a film that will make you think about how far one would go to make the perfect human.

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Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly
Sean Patrick Kelly is a freelance film critic and blogger based in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.