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Ahead of what is expected to be his World Cup farewell, this wide-reaching documentary seeks to provide a detailed understanding of the real Lionel Messi. He is one of the greatest players of all time, but in contrast with his awe-inspiring ability on the pitch, he is an enigmatic figure off it. With incredible footage of the Argentinean superstar as a child prodigy, this is Messi as you have never seen him before. School friends describe how a painfully shy boy with a growth hormone deficiency would draw crowds to see him play from the age of nine, while former teammates Cesc Fabregas and Xavi tell behind-the-scenes tales of what Messi is like in the dressing room. Ex-Argentina team-mates Pablo Zabaleta, Javier Mascherano and Hernan Crespo explain the more complex sides of Messi’s story. How is it that Argentina’s all-time top scorer has had to deal with spells of sustained criticism at home while the controversial figure of Diego Maradona is universally loved across the South American nation?
2022 • People
Marco Polo: World's Greatest Overland Explorer? Or World's Biggest Liar? Perhaps no land journey in human history is more famous than Marco Polo's legendary 24 year trek across Asia. But was it all just a big lie? As described in his 1299 book, the peripatetic Venetian merchant encountered such wonders as the "singing sand dunes" of Dunhuang, China, "mountains of salt" in present-day Afghanistan, and the glories of the Mongol court of Kublai Khan. Generations of Europeans were spellbound by Polo's account, yet in recent years some scholars have questioned its authenticity. National Geographic Photographer Mike Yamashita sets out to visually document one of the greatest overland journeys ever made: the 24-year odyssey of Marco Polo. 700 years ago a young Venetian set out on what was to become one of the most influential journeys ever made. His adventures took him well beyond the boundaries of the known world of Persia to a land that was almost completely unexplored - the mysterious Middle Kingdom. But ever since he returned there were those who doubted Marco Polo. Did he really see what he described in his legendary book, 'Description of the World' or did he merely describe what others told him. In this film, Mike Yamashita follows Marco's book from the lofty heights of the Pamir Mountains to the fabled city of Xanadu in Mongolia. In so doing he attempts to unravel some of the age old mystery: Did Marco Polo really go to China? In the course of this incredible journey Mike stumbles onto a nomadic Kazak wedding in Aksai and investigates the controversy of the Great Wall - why did Polo never mention this in his famous travelogue "The Description of the World"? And why did he never mention tea or chopsticks? Yamashita talks to noted Chinese historian Professor Liu Yingsheng about these and many other Polo conundrums. In Yunnan province, he visits the bound feet women, and travels to inner Mongolia to film the famous herds of the Mongolian horsemen. As Yamashita reaches Xanadu he ponders on how Polo became a trusted confidant to the Khan and spent 17 years in his service. What sights he must have seen. But did he? The mystery slowly but surely reveals itself.
2022 • People
Tells the remarkable story of a charlatan art dealer who swindled over $50 million from the art establishment before going on the run. Michel Cohen, a popular and charming New York art dealer was originally from France. A high school drop-out from a poor background, Cohen was a self-invented man who went on to become a rich and successful art dealer, with homes in Malibu and New York. Throughout the 1990s, he sold paintings by artists such as Picasso, Monet and Chagall to America’s wealthiest elite. Cohen was living the high life until he began trading recklessly in the stock market and ran up considerable debts. In an attempt to recoup his losses, he swindled private collectors, auction houses and other art dealers out of more than $50 million. When his swindles were discovered, he fled the USA with his wife and two small children and went on the run. In 2003, he was found by Interpol in Brazil and was imprisoned in Rio de Janeiro, but seven months later, whilst awaiting extradition to the USA, he escaped from prison and vanished off the face of the earth. Sixteen years later, filmmaker Vanessa Engle has managed to track him down and persuade him to tell his extraordinary story - a highly entertaining crime caper that is also a rich exploration of greed, motive and morality.
2019 • People
What would the world we live in look like without our Top Ten? It is hard to imagine but one thing’s for sure, in making the twentieth century they have indelibly influenced the world we know today. In our final episode we reveal our picks for the most significant people “Who Made the Twentieth Century”. The results will surprise many. Some will disagree with the choices, everyone will remain gripped up to the final reveal.