DOCUMENTARIES

"Are We Pigeon? Or Are We Dancer?" - The final episode tells how the strange paralysis that grips us today was created. How all the different forces of our age - that started out as separate have come together to create what is a block against imagining another kind of future than this. How, money and debt, melancholy over the loss of empire, the strange roots of modern conspiracy theories, the history of China, opium and opioids, Artificial Intelligence - and love and power have all fed into creating the present time of anxiety and fearfulness about the future. And whether modern culture, despite its radicalism, is really also part of the rigid system - in the West and in Russia and China - where those in power have run out of all ideas. The film also lays out what are the different possible roads from here into the future, and the choices we will have to make about the very different futures we will have to choose very soon.

Can't Get You Out of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World is a six-part BBC documentary television series created by Adam Curtis.

The Lordly Ones - It wasn’t just the Slave Trade. 150 years ago Britain had wrecked China by forcing opium on the country. It made Britain the richest and most powerful country in the world. But it enslaved the minds of millions of the Chinese and helped destroy the society. But then the British got frightened of what they had done and created a dream image of a Britain that had never existed. To hide from the fear.

This film tells the story of how from the end of the 19th century a magical vision of Britain’s feudal past was created by artists and writers. How folk music and folk dancing was invented to create a kind of safe dream of the nation that could hide the violence and the horrors. The dream persisted under the surface of the 20th century. But as the fears and uncertainties and the chaos of the last few years rose up millions of people started to believe that dream. That it was real.

Can't Get You Out of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World is a six-part BBC documentary television series created by Adam Curtis. Love, power, money, ghosts of empire, conspiracies, artificial intelligence and You. An emotional history of the modern world.

This episode follows British and US exceptionalism, from their origins in the early 20th century as a way of avoiding the past of chattel slavery, slave trade, and opium wars, to how these myths influenced anti-Black and anti-Asian racism, as well as policies of regime change across the world, notably in Iraq. Curtis argues that the US population could ignore the consequences of the Iraq War in part due to consumption of prescription opioids, in part because China responded to the 1997 Asian financial crisis by buying up US debt thus enabling uninterrupted supply of low-cost consumer goods.

No one trusted politics or politicians any longer. Instead we were all one world of free individuals. And we could intervene to save other individuals around the world without bothering with old politics and power. And people became what they as individuals truly were – emotionally and sexually. But power was mutating and finding ways to work its way back into our heads.

The politicians realised that they no longer had the support or the trust of the people. So they switched sides and gave up being our representatives who would challenge the powerful on our behalf. Instead they began to tell us what to do on behalf of the powerful. And they made new alliances - with the psychologists who said that human beings were irrational and needed to be managed. But we didn’t notice because we were too busy shopping.

Can't Get You Out of My Head: An Emotional History of the Modern World is a six-part BBC documentary television series created by Adam Curtis.

No one trusted politics or politicians any longer. Instead we were all one world of free individuals. And we could intervene to save other individuals around the world without bothering with old politics and power. And people became what they as individuals truly were - emotionally and sexually. But power was mutating and finding ways to work its way back into our heads. The politicians realised that they no longer had the support or the trust of the people. So they switched sides and gave up being our representatives who would challenge the powerful on our behalf. Instead they began to tell us what to do on behalf of the powerful. And they made new alliances - with the psychologists who said that human beings were irrational and needed to be managed. But we didn't notice because we were too busy shopping.

The story of how in the 1970s those in power set out to create a world free of the dangerous big ideas of the past. They banished the grand dreams of changing the world. And replaced them with money. People would live from now on in their own heads – in their own dreams. And the banks would lend them the money to create those dreams. While China would supply a wave of cheap consumer goods on a scale never seen before in the world.

But then money broke free across the world. And people started to get frightened that things were out of control. Not just money - but the world’s climate too seemed to be behaving in a strange, unpredictable way. The systems seemed to have a life of their own. Beyond the ability of anyone to shape and predict

The story of how in the 1970s those in power set out to create a world free of the dangerous big ideas of the past. They banished the grand dreams of changing the world. And replaced them with money. People would live from now on in their own heads - in their own dreams. And the banks would lend them the money to create those dreams. While China would supply a wave of cheap consumer goods on a scale never seen before in the world. But then money broke free across the world. And people started to get frightened that things were out of control. Not just money - but the world's climate too seemed to be behaving in a strange, unpredictable way. The systems seemed to have a life of their own. Beyond the ability of anyone to shape and predict.

The story of what tore the revolutions in the 1960s apart. Jiang Qing in China, Michael X in London, Afeni Shakur in New York believed that millions of people’s minds were haunted by the corruption and the violence of the past. They wanted to show people how to escape those ghosts.
But they hadn’t reckoned with the fact that the old structures of power still haunted their minds too. They too had been scarred by the past – and some of them wanted violent revenge. While psychologists and neuroscientists were starting to discover what they said were hidden forces inside the human brain that really controlled what they did. But the people weren’t aware.

We are living through strange days. Across Britain, Europe and America societies have become split and polarised. There is anger at the inequality and the ever growing corruption - and a widespread distrust of the elites. Into this has come the pandemic that has brutally dramatised those divisions. But despite the chaos, there is a paralysis - a sense that no one knows how to escape from this.

Can’t Get You Out of My Head tells how we got to this place. And why both those in power - and we - find it so difficult to move on. At its heart is the strange story of what happened when people’s inner feelings got mixed up with power in the age of individualism. How the hopes and dreams and uncertainties inside people's minds met the decaying forces of old power in Britain, America, Russia and China. What resulted was a block not just in the society - but also inside our own heads - that stops us imagining anything else than this.

Did Jesus exist? This film starts with that question, then goes on to examine Christianity as a whole. The God Who Wasn't There is a 2005 independent documentary written and directed by Brian Flemming. The documentary questions the existence of Jesus, examining evidence that supports the Christ myth theory against the existence of a historical Jesus, as well as other aspects of Christianity.

In this documentary, Professor Robert Beckford looks at how immigration, radical social action, conservative morality and charismatic worship are all transforming the face of the faith, and asks what that might mean for the future in an increasingly secular society.

Some academics are warning that popular churches who take a firm line on issues like gay marriage, abortion and euthanasia are pushing Christianity farther away from the attitudes of mainstream society. Others believe that the fervour of charismatic faith is attracting large numbers, but ignoring a quiet exodus out of the back door. Robert Beckford speaks to church leaders in the UK, including the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, about how they see the future.

At Easter - the holiest festival in the Christian calendar - this revealing film gets to the heart of what’s changing within Christianity in the UK. It will show how the faithful are kicking back against the steady decline in church attendance, and provide evidence of a more committed, but potentially divided, future.

A documentary in which the development of Arpanet, the Internet and the World Wide Web from 1969 to 1998 are explored.

A documentary in which the development of Arpanet, the Internet and the World Wide Web from 1969 to 1998 are explored.

A documentary in which the development of Arpanet, the Internet and the World Wide Web from 1969 to 1998 are explored.

The explosive story of chemistry is the story of the building blocks that make up our entire world - the elements. From fiery phosphorous to the pure untarnished lustre of gold and the dazzle of violent, violet potassium, everything is made of elements - the earth we walk on, the air we breathe, even us. Yet for centuries this world was largely unknown, and completely misunderstood.

In this three-part documentary, professor of theoretical physics Jim Al-Khalili traces the extraordinary story of how the elements were discovered and mapped. He follows in the footsteps of the pioneers who cracked their secrets and created a new science, propelling us into the modern age.

In the final part, Professor Al-Khalili uncovers tales of success and heartache in the story of chemists' battle to control and combine the elements, and build our modern world. He reveals the dramatic breakthroughs which harnessed their might to release almost unimaginable power, and he journeys to the centre of modern day alchemy, where scientists are attempting to command the extreme forces of nature and create brand new elements.

The explosive story of chemistry is the story of the building blocks that make up our entire world - the elements. From fiery phosphorus to the pure untarnished lustre of gold and the dazzle of violent, violet potassium, everything is made of elements - the earth we walk on, the air we breathe, even us. Yet for centuries this world was largely unknown, and completely misunderstood.

In this three-part documentary, professor of theoretical physics Jim Al-Khalili traces the extraordinary story of how the elements were discovered and mapped. He follows in the footsteps of the pioneers who cracked their secrets and created a new science, propelling us into the modern age.

In part two, Professor Al-Khalili looks at the 19th-century chemists who struggled to impose an order on the apparently random world of the elements. From working out how many there were to discovering their unique relationships with each other, the early scientists' bid to decode the hidden order of the elements was driven by false starts and bitter disputes. But ultimately the quest would lead to one of chemistry's most beautiful intellectual creations - the periodic table.

The explosive story of chemistry is the story of the building blocks that make up our entire world - the elements. From fiery phosphorous to the pure untarnished lustre of gold and the dazzle of violent, violet potassium, everything is made of elements - the earth we walk on, the air we breathe, even us. Yet for centuries this world was largely unknown, and completely misunderstood.

In this three-part documentary, professor of theoretical physics Jim Al-Khalili traces the extraordinary story of how the elements were discovered and mapped. He follows in the footsteps of the pioneers who cracked their secrets and created a new science, propelling us into the modern age.

Just 92 elements made up the world, but the belief that there were only four - earth, fire, air and water - persisted until the 19th century. Professor Al-Khalili retraces the footsteps of the alchemists who first began to question the notion of the elements in their search for the secret of everlasting life.

He reveals the red herrings and rivalries which dogged scientific progress, and explores how new approaches to splitting matter brought us both remarkable elements and the new science of chemistry.

James Clerk Maxwell - A Sense of Wonder: 2015 marked the 150th anniversary of the publication of one of the greatest scientific papers of all time, in which James Clerk Maxwell described his transformative theory of electromagnetism. This documentary celebrates his life, his poetry, his creative genius as a mathematician and scientist and his love of Galloway, told through the journey of poet and writer Rab Wilson and featuring conversations with contemporary scientists, music, poetry and songs.

Produced with support from the James Clerk Maxwell Foundation and the Dr David Summers Charitable Trust. Commissioned by Wigtown Festival Company.

Africa is a 2013 British documentary series created by the BBC Natural History Unit. It focuses on wildlife and wild habitats in Africa, and was four years in the making.
Episode 5 - The Future
The theme of the final programme is environmental issues affecting Africa's wildlife, including poaching, habitat loss, climate change and human population growth. Attenborough profiles the work of conservationists and scientists across the continent, drawing attention to projects which are helping to protect threatened species such as the black rhino and the mountain gorilla. He visits a Maasai tribe to feature a project which is helping to reduce human-lion conflict, an underpass used by elephants to move between feeding grounds and a sea turtle rehabilitation centre. A civil war ravaged Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique, but concerted efforts are now being made to restore the whole ecosystem.

David Attenborough comes face to face with a baby rhino and asks what the future holds for this little one. He meets the local people who are standing side by side with the wildlife at this pivotal moment in their history.
We discover what it takes to save a species, hold back a desert and even resurrect an entire wilderness - revealing what the world was like before modern man.

Africa is a 2013 British documentary series created by the BBC Natural History Unit. It focuses on wildlife and wild habitats in Africa, and was four years in the making.
Episode 5 - Sahara
The penultimate episode opens in the cedar forests of the Atlas Mountains, where Barbary macaques have become isolated from other primates by the expanding Sahara. Aerial photography shows the Sahara is a landscape dominated by rock. Animals featured include Grévy's zebra and naked mole-rats, each found on the desert's fringes. Two million barn swallows are forced to cross the Sahara on their migrations, congregating at a poisoned oasis to feed on flies. The last remaining freshwater pools are home to stranded desert crocodiles, filmed hunting tilapia fish. Macro photography reveals the struggles of dung beetles and silver ants, the latter able to survive exposure to the brutal midday sun thanks to their reflective body coating.

Northern Africa is home to the greatest desert on earth - the Sahara. On the fringes, huge zebras battle over dwindling resources and naked mole rats avoid the heat by living a bizarre underground existence. Within the desert, where the sand dunes 'sing', camels seek out water with the help of their herders and tiny swallows navigate across thousands of square miles to find a solitary oasis. This is a story of an apocalypse and how, when nature is overrun, some are forced to flee, some endure, but a few seize the opportunity to establish a new order.

Africa is a 2013 British documentary series created by the BBC Natural History Unit. It focuses on wildlife and wild habitats in Africa, and was four years in the making.
Episode 4 - Cape
The fourth instalment shows how Southern Africa is influenced by two very different ocean currents. The warm Agulhas Current generates rainfall in Mozambique's interior, where butterflies gather on the summit of Mount Mabu to court and breed. The cold Benguela Current influences the Western Cape, where little rain falls. The intense heat makes incubating eggs a difficult prospect for African penguins. In spring, as Namaqualand is transformed into a desert garden, the drama of a monkey beetle's love life plays out in a single flower. Springbok dance in the rainy season for joy. Great white sharks, a school of dolphins 5000 strong, and a 15 m Bryde's whale are filmed in the rich feeding grounds of the Atlantic.

Southern Africa is a riot of life and colour because of two great ocean currents that sweep around the continent's Cape. To the east, the warm Agulhas current, generating clouds that roll inland to the wettest place in southern Africa. To the west is the cold Benguela current, home to more great white sharks than anywhere else. Moisture-laden fog rolls inland, supporting wonderful desert garden. And where the two currents meet, the clash of warm and cold water creates one of the world's most fabulous natural spectacles: South Africa's sardine run. This is the greatest gathering of predators on the planet, including Africa's largest, the brydes whale.

Africa is a 2013 British documentary series created by the BBC Natural History Unit. It focuses on wildlife and wild habitats in Africa, and was four years in the making.
Episode 3 - Congo
The third episode visits the Congo basin and features some of the creatures which inhabit its two million square miles of jungle. In the canopy, a chimpanzee is filmed extracting honey from a bees' nest using a variety of branches as tools, whilst underground, a female African rock python incubates her eggs by coiling her warm body around them. Rare footage shows the nesting behaviour of Picathartes and a gathering of forest elephants at Dzanga bai. Other sequences show African skimmers, leaf-folding frogs and luminous fungi. Loango in Gabon is one of the few remaining places where the jungle meets the ocean. African forest buffalo, hippo, elephants and red river hogs emerge from the forest to sunbathe and swim.

The very heart of Africa is covered in dense tropical rainforest. The animals that live here find the most ingenious ways to carve out their space in a claustrophobic landscape. Danger lurks in every shadow, but some animals thrive here, from honey-stealing chimps to birds with a lineage as old as the dinosaurs, thundering elephants and kick-boxing frogs. Here in the Congo, no matter how tough the competition, you must stand up and fight for yourself and your patch.

Africa is a 2013 British documentary series created by the BBC Natural History Unit. It focuses on wildlife and wild habitats in Africa, and was four years in the making.
Episode 2 - Savannah
East Africa is the subject of the second programme, from the glaciated peaks of the Rwenzori Mountains to the savannahs and caustic soda lakes of the Great Rift Valley. The filmmakers focus on the life and death decisions animals must make in this ever-changing region. On the savannah, agama lizards play a game of dare as they approach a sleeping pride of lions to catch flying insects. Ancient forests in the Savannah are now roamed with mountain gorillas. A shoebill chick is filmed attacking its weaker sibling, forcing the parents to abandon it. On the plains of Amboseli, the worst drought for 50 years claims the life of an elephant calf, one of hundreds which perish from starvation. Their resilience and adaptability is highlighted by the returning rains, which bring together large herds to socialize.

East Africa is a land which is constantly changing. To survive here, creatures must be able to deal with unpredictable twists and turns - wet turning to dry, feast to famine, cold to hot - no matter how hostile it becomes.
From dense forests to snow-capped peaks, steamy swamps and endless savannah, this unique and varied land is also a haven for life, supporting large animals in numbers found nowhere else on Earth. But away from the familiar, forever-travelling herds, there are a huge cast of other characters - lizards that steal flies from the faces of lions, vast dinosaur-like birds who stalk catfish through huge wetlands, and an eagle who risks everything on the arrival of ten million bats from a far-off rainforest.

Africa is a 2013 British documentary series created by the BBC Natural History Unit. It focuses on wildlife and wild habitats in Africa, and was four years in the making.
Episode 1 - Kalahari
The series opens in Africa's south west corner and features the wildlife and landscapes of the Kalahari and Namib deserts. Starlight cameras reveal previously unfilmed nocturnal behaviour of black rhinos as they socialise at a Kalahari waterhole, and super slow motion footage captures a fierce battle between two male giraffes. Other sequences show Namibia's famous and mysterious fairy circles, how a fork-tailed drongo's talent for mimicry allows it to steal a meal from a meerkat clan, how ostrichs help their chicks find water, and how red-billed queleas defend their nests from marauding armoured bush crickets. Also, for the first time, cameras enter the world's largest underground lake in Dragon's Breath Cave and film the critically endangered golden cave catfish.

David Attenborough takes a breathtaking journey through the vast and diverse continent of Africa as it has never been seen before.
In Africa's ancient south west corner, two extraordinary deserts sit side by side. Water is in short supply, yet these deserts are somehow full of life because the creatures that live here have turned the rules of survival on their head. This film celebrates nature's ingenuity, no matter how tough it gets.
In the Kalahari scrublands, clever meerkats are outsmarted by a wily bird, solitary and belligerent black rhinos get together to party and giant insects stalk huge flocks of birds. Rain almost never falls in the Namib - instead it must make do with vaporous, vanishing fog. The creatures in this, the world's oldest desert, have gone to the extremes, as spiders wheel to escape and a desert giraffe fights to defend his scant resources in the greatest giraffe battle ever filmed.

Episode 2 | "An American" (1775-1790)
Benjamin Franklin leaves London and returns to wartime Philadelphia where he joins Congress and helps Thomas Jefferson craft the Declaration of Independence. In Paris, he wins French support for the American Revolution then negotiates a peace treaty with Britain. He spends his last years in the new United States, working on the Constitution and unsuccessfully promoting the abolition of slavery.

Episode One: "Join or Die" (1706–1774)
Leaving behind his Boston childhood, Benjamin Franklin reinvents himself in Philadelphia where he builds a printing empire and a new life with his wife, Deborah. Turning to science, Franklin's lightning rod and experiments in electricity earn him worldwide fame. After entering politics, he spends years in London trying to keep Britain and America together as his own family starts to come apart.

In this documentary, historian David Starkey tells the story of the Protestant Reformation and how it transformed the face of modern Europe. A schism at the heart of Christendom, the Reformation unleashed centuries of holy war, inspiring the kind of fundamentalism, terror and religious violence we are all too familiar with today. Timed to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the doors of All Saint's Church in Wittenberg, this programme charts the spread of Luther's ideas across Europe. Starkey explains how and why Luther's simple act of defiance would gain such momentum, and explores the consequences of his actions - both on the Christian faith, as well as on society as a whole. Filmed in Rome, Germany and the UK, the programme concentrates on the early years of the Reformation and concludes by revealing the impact and legacy it had on England. There it prompted Henry VIII to split with the Catholic Church in Rome and declare himself supreme head of the Church of England.

Neurons to Nirvana is a 2013 documentary film by Canadian filmmaker Oliver Hockenhull. The film examines the evidence for the therapeutic benefits of psychedelic drugs.
A stylish, in depth look at the renaissance in psychedelic drug research in light of current scientific, medical and cultural knowledge.

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DOCUMENTARIES

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