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Silk Roads and China Ships

   2016    History
Michael Wood tells the tale of China's first great international age under the Tang Dynasty (618-907). From the picturesque old city of Luoyang, he travels along the Silk Road to the bazaars of central Asia and into India on the track of the Chinese monk who brought Buddhism back to China. This tale is still loved by the Chinese today and is brought to life by storytellers, films and shadow puppet plays. Then in the backstreets and markets of Xi'an, Michael meets descendants of the traders from central Asia and Persia who came into China on the Silk Road. He talks to Chinese Muslims in the Great Mosque and across town hears the amazing story of the first reception of Christianity in 635. Moving south, Michael sees the beginnings of China as an economic giant. On the Grand Canal, a lock built in 605 still handles 800 barges every day! The film tracks the rise of the silk industry and the world's favourite drink - tea. Michael looks too at the spread of Chinese script, language and culture across east Asia. 'China's influence on the East was as profound as Rome on the Latin West', he says, 'and still is today'. Finally, the film tells the intense drama of the fall of the Tang. Among the eyewitnesses were China's greatest poets. In a secondary school in a dusty village, where the Chinese Shakespeare - Du Fu - is buried in the grounds, the pupils take Michael through one famous poem about loss and longing as the dynasty falls. And in that ordinary classroom, there is a sense of the amazing drama and the deep-rooted continuities of Chinese culture.
Series: The Story of China

13th

   2016    Culture
The title of Ava DuVernay's extraordinary and galvanizing documentary refers to the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, which reads 'Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States.' The progression from that second qualifying clause to the horrors of mass criminalization and the sprawling American prison industry is laid out by DuVernay with bracing lucidity. With a potent mixture of archival footage and testimony from a dazzling array of activists, politicians, historians, and formerly incarcerated women and men, DuVernay creates a work of grand historical synthesis.

Dynamic Salt

   2016    Technology
Could we get all our energy needs from sea water and the salt it contains? Are we to witness a time when salt will power our engines and factories, and light up our cities? Could this be the final curtain not only for shale gas and oil, but also the burning of fossil fuels and the beginning of a gentler form of energy that is definitely renewable? This documentary explores the latest research on sea water and the way scientists all over the world are working on 'Blue Energy'. This research could bring about a major change in our time.

Silicon Cowboys

   2016    History
Launched in 1982 by three friends in a Houston diner, Compaq Computer set out to build a portable PC to take on IBM, the world's most powerful tech company. Many had tried cloning the industry leader's code, only to be trounced by IBM and its high-priced lawyers. 'Silicon Cowboys' explores the remarkable David vs. Goliath story, and eventual demise, of Compaq, an unlikely upstart who altered the future of computing and helped shape the world as we know it today. Directed by Oscar (R)-nominated director Jason Cohen, the film offers a fresh look at the explosive rise of the 1980's PC industry and is a refreshing alternative to the familiar narratives of Jobs, Gates, and Zuckerberg.

Edison

   2015    History
By the time he died in 1931, Thomas Alva Edison was one of the most famous men in the world. The holder of more patents than any other inventor in history, Edison had achieved glory as the genius behind such revolutionary inventions as sound recording, motion pictures, and electric light. Edison's curiosity led him to its cutting edge. With just three months of formal schooling, he took on one seemingly impossible technical challenge after another, and through intuition, persistence, and a unique team approach to innovation, invariably solved it." Driven and intensely competitive, Edison was often neglectful in his private life and could be ruthless in business. Challenged by competition in the industry he'd founded, Edison launched an ugly propaganda campaign against his rivals, and used his credibility as an electrical expert to help ensure that high-voltage electrocution became a form of capital punishment. Edison explores the complex alchemy that accounts for the enduring celebrity of America's most famous inventor, offering new perspectives on the man and his milieu, and illuminating not only the true nature of invention, but its role in turn-of-the-century America's rush into the future.
Vietnam in HD
Vietnam in HD

   2011    History
Neanderthal
Neanderthal

      History
Through the Wormhole Season 6
Through the Wormhole Season 6

   2015    Science
Lost Kingdoms of South America
Lost Kingdoms of South America

   2013    History
Wild South America
Wild South America

   2005    Nature
Apocalypse: World War 1
Apocalypse: World War 1

   2014    History
The Art of Russia
The Art of Russia

   2009    Art
How the Universe Works Season 4
How the Universe Works Season 4

   2015    Science