Andy Warhol created some of the most instantly recognisable art of the 20th century. But perhaps his greatest work of art was himself - the cool, enigmatic pop art superstar. Stephen Smith sets out to discover the real Andy Warhol - in the hour-by-hour detail of his daily life.
Man on Wire is a 2008 documentary film directed by James Marsh. The film chronicles Philippe Petit's 1974 high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of New York's World Trade Center and is based on Philippe Petit's book, To Reach the Clouds, which has recently been released in paperback with the new title Man on Wire. The film is crafted like a heist film, presenting rare footage of the preparations for the event and still photographs of the walk, alongside reenactments (with Paul McGill as the young Petit) and modern-day interviews with the participants. Native New Yorkers know to expect the unexpected, but who among them could've predicted that a man would stroll between the towers of the World Trade Center? French high-wire walker Philippe Petit did just that on August 7th, 1974. Petit’s success may come as a foregone conclusion, but British filmmaker James Marsh’s pulse-pounding documentary still plays more like a thriller than a non-fiction entry--in fact, it puts most thrillers to shame. Marsh (Wisconsin Death Trip, The King) starts by looking at Petit's previous stunts. First, he took on Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral, then Sydney's Harbour Bridge before honing in on the not-yet-completed WTC. The planning took years, and the prescient Petit filmed his meetings with accomplices in France and America. Marsh smoothly integrates this material with stylized re-enactments and new interviews in which participants emerge from the shadows as if to reveal deep, dark secrets which, in a way, they do, since Petit's plan was illegal, "but not wicked or mean." The director documents every step they took to circumvent security, protocol, and physics as if re-creating a classic Jules Dassin or Jean-Pierre Melville caper. Though still photographs capture the feat rather than video, the resulting images will surely blow as many minds now as they did in the 1970s when splashed all over the media. Not only did Petit walk, he danced and even lay down on the cable strung between the skyscrapers. It competed in the World Cinema Documentary Competition at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Grand Jury Prize: World Cinema Documentary and the World Cinema Audience Award: Documentary. In February 2009, the film won the BAFTA for Outstanding British Film, the Independent Spirit Awards and the Academy Award for Best Documentary.
2008 • People
Carl Sagan did more to popularize science than any man on the planet, sharing his wonder and fascination with the mysteries of the universe with millions. He was the rarest of all creatures: the celebrity scientist. While some accused him of being a grandstander, none can deny that his approach to science helped introduce millions of people to the great wonders of the universe that fascinated him all his life. Carl Sagan played many roles: professor, working scientist, bestselling author and TV personality. In his classic television series, he brought science to the masses in an accessible, entertaining format. But he also performed groundbreaking research in astronomy, and was willing to risk his reputation to investigate the possibility of extraterrestrial life. Explore the remarkable life of this visionary scientist from his childhood to his death from bone marrow disease at 62. Colleagues trace the many contributions he made to his field, while family members including his wife and sister offer insight into the private man. From Cosmos to Contact, this is the story of the dedicated man who shared his love of the heavens with millions.
1996 • People
Professor Andre Geim is a condensed matter physicist at the University of Manchester. His life's work has been to gain a better understanding of the materials that make up the world around us. While just one subject can be a scientist's life's work, Andre has made switching fields a feature of his career. But while straying from the conventional path can be risky for a scientist, Andre has repeatedly turned it to his advantage. His "let's try it and see" approach means he's the only individual winner of the both the Nobel and the more light hearted Ig Nobel Prizes. He won the Nobel Prize for Physics in 2010 for uncovering the extraordinary properties of a material called graphene, but Geim can also lay claim to seeding two other new areas of physics research--levitation and gecko tape.
He saved the future from Evil Robots! Isaac Asimov dreamed a better future where we need not fear our own technology. His I, Robot stories of a sci-fi future where robots can do our jobs for us lead to the creation of real-life industrial robots and paved the way for a robo-friendly world.