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Over the Rainbow

   2013    Culture
With optional Hebrew subtitles. Simon Schama's history of the Jewish experience plunges into the lost world of the shtetl, the Jewish towns and villages sewn across the hinterlands of Eastern Europe which became the seedbed of a uniquely Jewish culture. Shtetl culture would make its mark on the modern world, from the revolutionary politics of the Soviet Union to the mass culture of Tin Pan Alley and Hollywood. It was also the birthplaces of Hasidism, the most visible, iconic and, arguably, most misunderstood expression of Jewish faith and fervour. This chapter of the story travels from the forests of Lithuania, where Simon's own family logged wood and fought wolves, to the streets of the Lower East Side where the sons of shtetl immigrants wrote the American songbook. With grim inevitability, the story returns to Eastern Europe in 1940 - where the genocidal mechanisms of the 'final solution' were beginning to grind the shtetl world into dust and ash.
Series: The Story of the Jews

Champs

   2015    Culture
Boxing, 'the poor man's sport', has long given kids from America's roughest neighborhoods an opportunity to escape violence with violence. But with success in the ring comes new fights for which there is no training: champions are made and broken in the blink of an eye, and young men thrust into the spotlight are often ill-equipped for the fame, fortune, and hangers-on that accompany a title belt". And for many, the toughest bouts are fought during retirement, when health and financial issues begin to mount. Built around the stories of heavyweight legends as Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield and Bernard Hopkins, We will examine their lives in and out of the ring.

Workingman Death

   2005    Culture
Austrian director Michael Glawogger travels to five countries to focus on some of the worst jobs imaginable: Ukrainian miners crawl into tiny cracks in old coal pits to scratch out a few bags of winter fuel; Indonesian workers trudge long distances carrying baskets with hundreds of pounds of sulfur chunks extracted from a steaming mountain; Pakistanis risk explosions and burial under tons of scrap iron as they dismantle huge carrier ships. The visuals are everything here. Despite the hardships depicted, many sequences have a dreamlike beauty. In addition, the director has a bone-dry sense of irony; during the Ukraine scenes, he frequently cuts away to a statue of Stakhanov, the "hero" lauded by the Soviets for his superhuman work habits. He also shows us an old German smelting works that's been converted into a theme park.

The Coldest War

   2014    Culture
'The Coldest War': With the polar ice caps shrinking due to global warming, new trade routes are being exposed, along with billions of dollars' worth of natural-resource reserves. The five nations bordering the Arctic are readying themselves to fight for it. The problem is that there's one non-NATO country that already considers itself rightful owner of the region: Russia. With Vladimir Putin's recent military annexation of Crimea, there's a definite possibility its aggressions will boil over, returning the international community to precarious Cold War footing. We will head north to witness NATO forces participating in the largest polar military exercise in history. 'Heroin Warfare': Since the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan, heroin production in the region has skyrocketed, making the country the number-one producer by a large margin. Though Iran, Afghanistan's neighbor, is an ultraconservative country, Afghan heroin flowing across the border has actually caused Iran to have the worst heroin use problem in the world. Suroosh Alvi gets a rare look inside Iran to meet the suffering heroin addicts, and see how the country is coping with the illegal drug trade.
Series: Vice

The Armstrong Lie

   2013    Culture
Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side) masterfully explores the fall of the disgraced cycling champion following the 2009 Tour de France, making use of his extraordinary access to attain rare interviews with former teammates, alleged doping mastermind Dr. Michele Ferrari, and Armstrong himself. What was Lance Armstrong thinking? For years, after seizing international fame as the cancer survivor who won seven Tour de France titles, he fiercely denied accusations that he used performance-enhancing drugs. He used his power to aggressively litigate journalists and publicly humiliate former friends who claimed otherwise. His deceit finally cracked in January 2013, when he admitted guilt to Oprah Winfrey in a television interview that critics decried for only scratching the surface. Academy Award-winning director Alex Gibney approaches Armstrong with unique and extraordinary access. In 2009, Gibney was commissioned to make a film about Armstrong's return to the Tour de France, four years after the racing champion had declared retirement. That race would later stir up devastating evidence in the case against Armstrong. But Gibney came away from the experience unable to reconcile the discrepancy between doping allegations and Armstrong's emphatic denials. Then, post-Oprah, Gibney went back to Armstrong for new interviews to extract a more detailed account of his double life. In The Armstrong Lie, Gibney masterfully explores the complexities of the case, interweaving the dramatic action of the 2009 Tour de France, when Armstrong found himself unexpectedly competing against his own teammate Alberto Contador. Gibney attains rare interviews with Armstrong's former teammates and alleged doping mastermind Dr. Michele Ferrari. The film also raises troubling questions about the process of doping regulation. Recently, when asked to give advice to documentary filmmakers, Gibney responded with a motto exemplified by this film: "Embrace contradictions."
Apocalypse: World War 1
Apocalypse: World War 1

   2014    History
Dark Net
Dark Net

   2016    Technology
Superstructures: Engineering Marvels
Superstructures: Engineering Marvels

   2019    Technology
Earth from Space
Earth from Space

   2019    Nature
A History of Christianity
A History of Christianity

   2011    History
Inside the Medieval Mind
Inside the Medieval Mind

   2008    History
Shine a Light
Shine a Light

   2008    Art