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Birth of the British Novel

   2011    Art
Author Henry Hitchings explores the lives and works of Britain's radical and pioneering 18th-century novelists who, in just 80 years, established all the literary genres we recognise today. It was a golden age of creativity led by Daniel Defoe, Jonathan Swift, Henry Fielding, Laurence Sterne, Fanny Burney and William Godwin, amongst others. Robinson Crusoe, Gulliver's Travels, Tom Jones and Tristram Shandy are novels that still sparkle with audacity and innovation. On his journey through 18th-century fiction, Hitchings reveals how the novel was more than mere entertainment, it was also a subversive hand-grenade that would change British society for the better. He travels from the homes of Britain's great and good to its lowliest prisons, meeting contemporary writers like Martin Amis, Will Self, Tom McCarthy and Jenny Uglow on the way.

Bitter Lake

   2015    Culture
And epic film by Adam Curtis that explains why the big stories that politicians tell us have become so simplified that we can’t really see the world any longer. The narrative goes all over the world, America, Britain, Russia and Saudi Arabia, but the country at the heart of it is Afghanistan. Because Afghanistan is the place that has confronted our politicians with the terrible truth, that they cannot understand what is going on any longer". The coumentary reveals the forces that over the past thirty years rose up and undermined the confidence of politics to understand the world. And it shows the strange, dark role that Saudi Arabia has played in this. But Bitter Lake is also experimental. Curtis has taken the unedited rushes of everything that the BBC has ever shot in Afghanistan - and used them in new and radical ways. He has tried to build a different and more emotional way of depicting what really happened in Afghanistan. A counterpoint to the thin, narrow and increasingly destructive stories told by those in power today.

Blackfish

   2013    Nature
The documentary focuses on the captivity of Tilikum, an orca involved in the deaths of three individuals, and the consequences of keeping orcas in captivity. It includes his capture in 1983 off the coast of Iceland, and purported harassment by fellow captive orcas at Sealand of the Pacific, incidents that Cowperthwaite argues contributed to the orca's aggression. Many of us have experienced the excitement and awe of watching 8,000-pound orcas, or "killer whales," soar out of the water and fly through the air at sea parks, as if in perfect harmony with their trainers. Yet, in our contemporary lore this mighty black-and-white mammal is like a two-faced Janus-beloved as a majestic, friendly giant yet infamous for its capacity to kill viciously. BLACKFISH unravels the complexities of this dichotomy, employing the story of notorious performing whale Tilikum, who-unlike any orca in the wild-has taken the lives of several people while in captivity. So what exactly went wrong? Shocking, never-before-seen footage and riveting interviews with trainers and experts manifest the orca's extraordinary nature, the species' cruel treatment in captivity over the last four decades, and the growing disillusionment of workers who were misled and endangered by the highly profitable sea-park industry. This emotionally wrenching, tautly structured story challenges us to consider our relationship to nature and reveals how little we humans have learned from these highly intelligent and enormously sentient fellow mammals.

Blood Filled Streets

   2016    History
After the murder of his brother Frank, Al Capone is out for revenge against William Dever and the Chicago police. He plots to kill every undercover cop that was in Cicero on the day of Frank’s death. Before he can set his plan in motion, however, Johnny Torrio returns from Italy and reclaims his control of their criminal empire. Torrio forbids Capone from killing cops, fearing it would spark an all-out war. Despite Capone’s personal loss, Torrio returns to a booming business that’s raking in $10 million a month. However, as Torrio and Capone’s empire grows, it becomes harder to keep smaller factions under control. After a small group of Italian mobsters attacks one of Dean O’Banion’s distilleries, O’Banion blames Torrio and decides to end their business partnership. He announces his retirement to Torrio and offers Torrio an opportunity to buy him out. Torrio meets O’Banion at the Seine Brewery on May 19, 1924, with the buyout money. Chicago police raid the brewery and arrest Torrio while letting O’Banion walk free: O’Banion had set the whole thing up. With prior convictions, Torrio serves a mandatory prison sentence but is first released on bail. He vows to kill O’Banion as payback and gives Capone his blessing to kill O’Banion. Capone spends months planning the hit. Capone knows that catching O’Banion off guard is nearly impossible, so he places an order with O’Banion’s flower shop for nearly $20,000 worth of flowers, knowing that O’Banion personally oversees his biggest arrangements. On November 10, 1924, O’Banion works in his shop preparing the flower delivery. Two of Capone’s men enter the shop and fatally gun O’Banion down. Four days later, Chicago’s most powerful Irish gangster is laid to rest in one of the most lavish funerals Chicago has ever seen. More than two dozen cars are required to transport floral arrangements as a crowd of 10,000 mourns the death of the infamous gangster. Torrio and Capone attend the funeral, infuriating O’Banion’s top lieutenants, Hymie Weiss and Bugs Moran. Chaos breaks out as smaller gangs through the city begin a turf war. It’s the beginning of an era of bloodshed in Chicago known as the Beer Wars. Over 300 people are murdered at a rate of 75 to 100 murders a year.
Series: The Making of the Mob

Bloody Battles

   2012    History
In the second episode, Andrew Carnegie builds an empire around steel, but finds himself struggling to save face after the ruthless tactics of his business partner, Henry Frick, result in both the Johnstown Flood as well as the bloody 1892 strike at the Homestead Steel Works.
Series: The Men Who Built America
Living Universe
Living Universe

   2018    Technology
Ancient Greece
Ancient Greece

   2013    History
The Normans
The Normans

   2010    History
How the Universe Works
How the Universe Works

   2014    Science
Wild Russia
Wild Russia

   2009    Nature
Motivation
Motivation

   2017    Culture
Everything and Nothing
Everything and Nothing

   2011    Science