Why do humans make art? When did we begin to make our mark on the world? And where? In this film, Britain's most celebrated sculptor Antony Gormley is setting out on a journey to see for himself the very beginnings of art. Once we believed that art began with the cave paintings of Ice Age Europe, tens of thousands of years ago. But now, extraordinary new discoveries around the world are overturning that idea. Antony is going to travel across the globe, and thousands of years back in time, to piece together a new story of how art began. He discovers beautiful, haunting and surprising works of art, deep inside caves across France, Spain and Indonesia, and in Australian rock shelters. He finds images created by hunter-gatherers that surprise him with their tenderness, and affinity with the natural world. He discovers the secrets behind the techniques used by our ancestors to create these paintings. And he meets experts making discoveries that are turning the clock back on when art first began.
Phillippe Parreno has radically redefined the exhibition experience. Rather than as a collection of individual works, Parreno sees an exhibit as a coherent whole and works in many different media including film, text, sculpture and drawing.
As the red carpet season reaches its climax, Mark Kermode turns his keen eye and sharp wit on past winners of the most prestigious awards of all. What gave them the edge over their rivals? Mark shows that, despite their apparent differences, Oscar-winning films have more in common than you might think. Certain kinds of film recur, such as war, social justice and the all-singing, all-dancing extravaganza. But, as Mark explains, it’s not just about your choice of subject; it's how you treat it that counts. In a special show that ranges from the earliest awards winners to the most recent victors, Mark reveals the films that laid down the template for cinematic glory, celebrates the classics that have endured and savours some of the movies’ most acclaimed performances.
This time Mark explores the most visionary of all genres - science fiction, and shows how film-makers have risen to the challenge of making the unbelievable believable. Always at the forefront of cinema technology, science fiction films have used cutting-edge visual effects to transport us to other worlds or into the far future. But as Mark shows, it's not just about the effects. Films as diverse as 2001, the Back to the Future trilogy and Blade Runner have used product placement and commercial brand references to make their future worlds seem more credible. The recent hit Arrival proved that the art of film editing can play with our sense of past and future as well as any time machine. Meanwhile, films such as Silent Running and WALL-E have drawn on silent era acting techniques to help robot characters convey emotion. And District 9 reached back to Orson Welles by using news reporting techniques to render an alien visitation credible. Mark argues that for all their spectacle, science fiction films ultimately derive their power from being about us. They take us to other worlds and eras, and introduce us to alien and artificial beings, in order to help us better understand our own humanity.
Salvador Dali was art's greatest clown, but was he also one of its great geniuses? Journalist Alastair Sooke traces the life and work of the popular surrealist artist travelling throughout Europe and America. From his origins in turn of the century Spain, to his high jinx in New York in the 1970s, Sook reveals this artist's fascinating life story and explains the thinking behind and impact of his most famous works. Talking to Dali fans from Mighty Boosh comedian Noel Fielding to contemporary artist Jeff Koons, Sooke reveals the pervading influence of Dali and his brand of surrealism. Featuring testimonies from film giant Alfred Hitchcock and excerpts from the film Dali made with Walt Disney, Destino, as well as looking at contemporary advertising, this programme shows how the hand of Dali has touched almost every aspect of popular culture.
In a special seasonal edition of his acclaimed series, film critic Mark Kermode celebrates one of the most perennial of all genres: the Christmas movie. Mark unwraps a glittering selection of Christmas cinematic treats, from much-loved classics to hidden gems, Hollywood blockbusters to international films, and reveals the film-making techniques and storytelling secrets that make them so successful. Mark demonstrates how, as with all great genres, a key to the success of the Christmas movie lies in its adaptability. Christmas cinema embraces a remarkable range of styles and themes, from fairy tale fantasy to high-octane action, family drama to horror. But a great Christmas movie does more than simply set its story in the festive season. It captures something magical - the Christmas spirit - and in this programme, Mark shows you how.