Oliver Sacks: His Own Life

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Ric Burns’ film explores the life and work of the legendary neurologist, a fearless explorer of unknown mental worlds, who helped redefine our understanding of the brain and mind, the diversity of human experience, and the baseline of our shared humanity.


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A month after receiving a fatal diagnosis in January 2015, Oliver Sacks sat for a series of filmed interviews in his apartment in New York City. For eighty hours, he talked about his life and work, battles with drug addiction, homophobia, a medical establishment that long shunned his pioneering work on cognitive disorders, and his abiding sense of wonder at the natural world and the place of human beings within it. Drawing on these deeply personal reflections, as well as nearly two dozen interviews with close friends, family members, colleagues and patients, and archival material from every point in his life, this film is the story of a beloved doctor and writer who redefined our understanding of the brain and mind.
US/2020/dir by Ric Burns/ 110 mins

Rebuilding Paradise

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On the morning of Nov. 8, 2018, a spark from a transmission line in Northern California, coupled with climate-impacted conditions aka global warming’s aftershocks, quickly grew into a devastating firestorm that engulfed the picturesque city of Paradise, California. By the time what became known as the Camp Fire was extinguished, it had killed 85 people, displaced 50,000 residents and destroyed 95% of local structures. It was the deadliest U.S. fire in 100 years — and the worst ever in California’s history. From the moment the crisis began, Oscar-winning director RON HOWARD led a filmmaking team to the city and would go on to spend a year with Paradise residents, documenting their efforts to recover what was lost. 

As residents faced the damage to their lives, to their homes and to more than 150,000 acres in and around their 141-year-old town, they did something amazing: They worked together to heal. The community members went on to forge a bond stronger than what they had before the catastrophe, even as their hope and spirit were challenged by continued adversity: relocations, financial crises, government hurdles, water poisoning, grief and PTSD. 

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The Camp Fire and its overwhelming aftermath became a de facto lesson in what we all must do: protect our environment, help our neighbors, plan for future dangers and remember to preserve the traditions that unite us — just as these resilient citizens did when they began the important task of Rebuilding Paradise

US/2020/dir by Ron Howard/ 95 mins.

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Three Faces

Jafar Panahi (The White Balloon, The Mirror, The Circle), who defies a filmmaking ban from the Iranian government each time he makes a new film, is always a director worth checking out. And how lucky we are for his tenacity… Full of metaphor, insight, and gentle humor, this remarkable film features some of his best filmmaking.
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Monrovia, Indiana

While shrinking in population, 46 million people still live in rural Mid-American towns, making them important formative centers for politics and values. In the aftermath of the 2016 election, journalists had to reckon with being out of touch with some of these red-state areas. In his own way, Wiseman helps fill that void with his latest film by immersing us in a corner of the Midwest seldom depicted on film.
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Border

Academy Award Nominee – Best Makeup and Hair Design
Based on a short story by Let the Right One In author John Ajvide Lindqvist, Border seamlessly fuses social commentary, fantasy, and psychological insight to tell the story of Tina (Eva Melander) — a woman born with a facial “disfiguration,” a strange scar on her tailbone, and the ability to sense or smell how people feel.Read More

Free Solo

Academy Award Nominee – Best Documentary Feature
You don’t need to be a climbing enthusiast to marvel at Free Solo. With its extraordinary cinematography, nothing can match the wonders of humans and nature, and the sheer movie-going suspense, captured in this acclaimed documentary by filmmakers Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin (Meru).
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Jane

Brett (The Kid Stays in the Picture, Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck) Morgen’s latest, a terrific time travel film about primate researcher Jane Goodall who lived in the wild with chimpanzees, is drawn from over 100 hours of never-before-seen footage that had been tucked away in the National Geographic archives for over 50 years.
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The Florida Project

1 Academy Award Nomination – Best Actor
In his follow-up to the award-winning Tangerine, Sean Baker dives deep into a community living on the margins of Floridian society. In the process, he gives us some of the most unforgettable characters in the cinema this year: 22-year-old Halley (Bria Vinaite) and her six-year-old daughter, Moonee (Brooklyn Prince).
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