The Brain Creates Religion

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Believing in God generates soothing "juices" in the brain that make us feel good.

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Man on Wire

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

Think like a Martian

"... we had a lot of little games, like you would say at the dinner table..."

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Diana: In Her Own Words

This documentary uses the recordings Princess Diana made for the book that was written by Andrew Morton. In this documentary Diana narrates her life and the events that surrounded her.

2017 • People

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The Zeitgeist Film Series is about examining the world we share, the values we hold, the problems we face, along with what we can do to make it better.

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Monogamy

What do biology, human history and the promiscuity of bonobos reveal about monogamy? Experts and everyday couples weigh in on shifting cultural norms.

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The Genius of Marie Curie

Nearly 80 years after her death, Marie Curie remains by far the best known female scientist. In her lifetime, she became that rare thing: a celebrity scientist, attracting the attention of the news cameras and tabloid gossip. They were fascinated because she was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize and is still the only person to have won two Nobels in two different sciences. But while the bare bones of her scientific life, the obstacles she had to overcome, the years of painstaking research, and the penalty she ultimately paid for her discovery of radium have become one of the iconic stories of scientific heroism, there is another side to Marie Curie: her human story. This multi-layered film reveals the real Marie Curie, an extraordinary woman who fell in love three times, had to survive the pain of loss, and the public humiliation of a doomed love affair. It is a riveting portrait of a tenacious mother and scientist, who opened the door on a whole new realm of physics, which she discovered and named: radioactivity. Full title - The Genius of Marie Curie: The Woman Who Lit Up the World

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