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Life & Society

A Life in Japan

 

Ever wondered how it would be to live in Japan?

In this documentary a variety of foreigners tell about their experiences, likes and dislikes. It's not a complete picture of Japan of course. You will see the country through the eyes of a few, mostly western, foreign residents, who have stayed in Japan between a few months and several decades.

The intention was not to try to give an objective all encompassing picture of Japan, but to let you experience it through personal opinions and experiences of different people. The interviewees had the chance to speak freely, within loose frames, about the topics of their choice.



A Lion Called Christian

In 2008, a clip posted on You Tube featuring an emotional reunion between a young lion and his owners became an internet sensation. Overnight people wanted to know more about what lay behind this clip. The two men in question, Anthony 'Ace' Bourke and John Rendall, have published an updated bestselling version of their account of how they came to buy Christian the lion from a London department store in the late 60s. They explain how they lived with the lion whilst working in a furniture shop down the King's Road in what was then the tail end of the swinging 60s and how they eventually came to introduce their lion into the wild under the watchful eye of lion expert, George Adamson.

For the first time this TV Special, filmed in 2009, pulls together this amazing story using up to date interviews with many of those involved in this unique story. It includes the original footage of Christian filmed in both London and Kenya, the reunion between the three and exclusive new footage of a second reunion which was to be the last time the two men would see Christian.



A Little Matter of Gender

One of the greatest experts in autism research in the world, Professor Simon Baron-Cohen of the University of Cambridge argues that there are serious differences between the male and the female brain; in extreme cases, this male brain configuration leads to higher instances of autism and other malfunctions, thus producing more Savants.

As a little girl, Temple Grandin didn't speak at all. Unlike normal people, she feels at home in the language of animals, who - like her - think in pictures and not in words. Today Dr. Temple Grandin is the most important woman in the steak-and-burger-obsessed USA. She designed more than half of all cattle breeding farms of the biggest meat producing nation in the world because she knows the fears of cows, pigs and sheep by heart. But the thoughts and minds of average people will always remain a mystery to her.

Christopher Taylor won't be able to find the way to the pub in the village he has been living in for 20 years, but he is able to read newspapers in almost 25 different languages. Scientists think that an overdose of the male sex hormone testosterone in the time when the embryo evolves is responsible for extreme forms of the male brain that promotes both wondrous abilities and social deficiencies.



A Walk To Beautiful

The award winning feature-length documentary A Walk to Beautiful tells the stories of five Ethiopian women who suffer from devastating childbirth injuries and embark on a journey to reclaim their lost dignity. Rejected by their husbands and ostracized by their communities, these women are left to spend the rest of their lives in loneliness and shame. They make the choice to take the long and arduous journey to the Addis Ababa Fistula Hospital in search of a cure and a new life.



Child of Rage

What happens when a child is deprived of love? What are the ramifications of a very young child be physically and sexually abused? What do you do when you are a naïve family who adopts a child who has been deeply damaged at a very young age? Can a young child really be capable of thoughts of murder? These are some of the issues which were addressed in the original HBO documentary Child of Rage.

This terrifying and disturbing documentary traces Beth as she goes through therapy in Colorado. The video explains that Beth suffers from Reactive Attachment Disorder, an inability to trust and attach to others. This is frequently caused by severe abuse or neglect. As Beth is questioned about the things she has done. When asked if she has ever stuck pins in people, Beth answers that she has. The reason that she gives for doing this is, “I wanted him to die.” She also confesses to wanting her mommy and daddy to die. Beth also answers questions about physically assaulting her brother and doing sexual things to him. What increases the twisted factor to this is Beth’s lack of any real emotion about what she is discussing. She is as laid back and nonchalant about these things as you would expect a child talking about there day at kindergarten to be. It is as if she has no conscience. Unfortunately, this is all too accurate of a way to look at it.



Countdown to Zero

Countdown to Zero is a documentary film released in 2010 which argues that the likelihood of the use of nuclear weapons has increased since the end of the Cold War due to terrorism, nuclear proliferation, theft of nuclear materials and weapons, and other factors.



Earthlings

EARTHLINGS is a feature length documentary about humanity's absolute dependence on animals (for pets, food, clothing, entertainment, and scientific research) but also illustrates our complete disrespect for these so-called "non-human providers." The film is narrated by Academy Award nominee Joaquin Phoenix and features music by the critically acclaimed platinum artist Moby .



Every F---ing Day of My Life

Every F---king Day of My Life depicts a woman’s last four days of freedom before being sentenced to ten years in prison for murdering her brutally abusive husband. The film, which follows Wendy Maldonado and her young sons, also bears witness to the resiliency of women and children who must survive within these dysfunctional unions.

The film opens with home video of a long-ago family outing, then cuts to the gut-wrenching 911 call that Wendy made the night she killed her husband, then cuts again to Wendy recounting her early days with her husband, Aaron. After marrying Aaron at age seventeen, Wendy, who is already aware of Aaron’s possessiveness, quickly realizes just how disturbed her young husband is. He becomes increasingly violent, frequently beating her and their four sons. Wendy endures the abuse for nineteen years before impulsively deciding to do away with her partner. She beats him to death with a hammer, caving his skull. Wendy’s eldest son, Randy, who participates solely out of a desire to protect his mother and younger brothers, is eventually charged and convicted of second-degree manslaughter.

Every F---ing Day of My Life serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of ignoring domestic violence. It is a documentary masterpiece due to its very simplicity; there are no voice-overs, no talking head interviews, no fancy cinematography to turn the film’s laser sharp focus away from its emotionally devastated subjects.



Genocide: Worse Than War

WORSE THAN WAR documents Daniel Goldhagen’s travels, teachings, and interviews in nine countries around the world, bringing viewers on an unprecedented journey of insight and analysis. After the premiere, come back to this page to watch the full program online anytime.

With his first book, the #1 international bestseller Hitler’s Willing Executioners (Vintage, 1997) Daniel Jonah Goldhagen – then a professor of political science at Harvard University– forced the world to re-think some of its most deeply-held beliefs about the Holocaust. Hitler’s Willing Executioners inspired an unprecedented worldwide discussion and debate about the role ordinary Germans played in the annihilation of Europe’s Jews.

A decade later – and more than half a century after the end of World War II – Goldhagen is convinced that the overall phenomenon of genocide is as poorly understood as the Holocaust had once been. How and why do genocides start? Why do the perpetrators kill? Why has intervention rarely occurred in a timely manner? These and other thought-provoking questions are explored in a new documentary film, WORSE THAN WAR.



Helen Fisher: Why Him? Why Her?

So, who do you love? How does your personality determine who you fall in love with?

According to Dr. Helen Fisher, your love interests may very well be driven by biology.  She is one of the world's leading experts on the science of romantic love.  She's written extensively for scientific journals and is the author of several best selling books.  Her latest book "Why Him? Why Her?" is based on research she performed as chief scientific advisor to chemistry.com; a division of the internet dating website we all know and love - match.com.

In this lecture, Dr. Helen Fisher discusses how we can find and keep our perfect match by using nature's chemistry.



Innocents Betrayed

This excellent documentary effectively shatters gun control myths and fallacies. Owning a firearm is not a privilege - it's a basic right. In fact, it's the basic right to protect yourself and your loved ones.

Throughout History, there has been a disturbing pattern: sooner or later (often sooner than later), disarmed populations become the hapless victims of tyrannical governments and criminals. The right to own a weapon is one that is usually conquered in the aftermath of centuries of suffering and genocide.

Today, we tend to forget that. Yet, the last 100 odd years were undoubtedly the most brutal of all, in what concerns organized violence against deliberately disarmed populations.

This is what "Innocents Betrayed" documents. How innocents are constantly betrayed -- and brutalized -- by gun control.



Law and Disorder in Johannesburg

Louis Theroux travels to Johannesburg, where the residents find themselves increasingly besieged by crime. Despairing of the capability of the police and the courts to protect them, many have turned to an industry of private security, offering protection for a price. Are the sometimes brutal methods of these private police really a solution or just another part of the problem?

The first stop for Louis is a meeting with William Mayangoni, the local co-ordinator for a security firm known as Mapogo. Based on the outskirts of Diepsloot, one of the squatter camps that ring Johannesburg, William investigates thefts for his mainly white clients. When he catches a suspect, he gives them 'medicine': the alleged offender is beaten with a leather whip known as a sjambok.

Although his clients seem to support what they see as 'an African solution to an African problem', William's methods alienate the people of Diepsloot. Finally, their patience snaps dramatically, and William has to call out the real police in order to protect himself from the vicious threat of the mob.

In the centre of Johannesburg, a security company called Bad Boyz work in an area called Hillbrow, notorious for its high crime rate. Louis meets company director Hendrik De Klerk who explains that much of their activity involves reclaiming and securing buildings that have been taken over, or hijacked, by criminal gangs who illegally take rent from tenants. Louis watches dramatic evictions unfold, in which the police and security companies are not afraid to use force to kick out the protesting residents.



Madness in the Fast Lane

Madness in the Fast Lane is the BBC documentary, first broadcast on BBC 1 on 10 August 2010, which brought the story of Sabina and Ursula Eriksson and the killing of Glen Hollinshead into the public consciousness. The footage on the M6 motorway of the two women jumping into the passing traffic had previously been broadcast, but this was the first time the rest of the story had been told.



Memory Masters

Orlando Serrell from Virginia was ten when he was struck by a baseball during a game. He lost consciousness for a while, but when he woke up again, everything seemed to be normal. Only a year later did Orlando notice that he could remember every single detail of every single day of his life since his accident. Every date, every day of the week, what he had for lunch and of what colour his sister's socks were or what programme was on TV.

Kim Peek from Salt Lake City is the real "Rainman". He doesn't read books - he scans them. Kim records any data like a hard drive: melodies, names, historic dates, the calendar, the complete TV programme listings, every area code of every place in the USA, and the road map of every state. But Kim pays a price for his mysterious abilities: as a child he was said to be strongly mentally disabled - until he could recite his first encyclopedia at four years old. Now in his fifties, the Savant still can't live on his own.

Howard Potter attracted attention when he was a child because he could calculate the exact number of peas on his plate just by a glance. However, he is still dependent on his mother's help in daily life and has been for over 40 years. Howard extracts square roots as easily as how others count the fingers of their hands; he loves prime numbers and the endless reservoir of soccer results.



Noughts and Crosses

With the domination of Christianity from 500 AD, Jonathan Miller wonders how disbelief began to re-emerge in the 15th and 16th centuries. He discovers that division within the Church played a more powerful role than the scientific discoveries of the period. He also visits Paris, the home of the 18th century atheist, Baron D'Holbach, and shows how politically dangerous it was to undermine the religious faith of the masses.



Presumed Guilty

Antonio Zuniga was minding his own business, walking through his Mexico City neighbourhood, when police arrested him on charges of murdering a young gang member he had never seen. He was found guilty and sentenced to 20 years in prison, despite overwhelming evidence of his innocence.

The story might have ended there if it hadn't been for two determined lawyers armed with a video camera. They got the street vendor a retrial and, finally, acquittal by an appeals court thanks to the video they shot, which turned into a harrowing documentary.



Shadows of Doubt

Jonathan Miller visits the absent Twin Towers to consider the religious implications of 9/11 and meets Arthur Miller and the philosopher Colin McGinn. He searches for evidence of the first 'unbelievers' in Ancient Greece and examines some of the modern theories around why people have always tended to believe in mythology and magic.



THRIVE: What On Earth Will It Take

 

THRIVE is an unconventional documentary that lifts the veil on what's REALLY going on in our world by following the money upstream -- uncovering the global consolidation of power in nearly every aspect of our lives. Weaving together breakthroughs in science, consciousness and activism, THRIVE offers real solutions, empowering us with unprecedented and bold strategies for reclaiming our lives and our future.



The Einstein Effect

When he was a child, Matt Savage was diagnosed as autistic but at the age of six, Matt Savage learnt to play piano nearly overnight. By seven, he began composing jazz and in the same year, he released his first CD with his own composition. A day before his 13th birthday, Matt performed a gig at New York's most famous jazz club, Birdland, where famous jazzplayers lsuch as Chick Corea proclaimed him to be the "musical talent of the century".

The abilities of Stephen Wiltshire are tremendous. The Savant, diagnosed as an autistic child at the age of three, flew in a helicopter over Rome for BEAUTIFUL MINDS and after that he was able to draw a five meter long aerial panoramic picture of the Eternal City - from memory. As a drawing Savant, Stephen was even able to remember the exact number of windows of important buildings.

Brain researcher Professor Michael Fitzgerald from Dublin draws upon the theory that there is an interrelation between extraordinary creativity and disconnections in the autistic brains. At the University of Sydney, Professor Allan Snyder carries out an experiment where he tries to disable parts of the brain to get more creativity out of them.



The Final Hour

The history of disbelief continues with the ideas of self-taught philosopher Thomas Paine, the revolutionary studies of geology and the evolutionary theories of Darwin. Jonathan Miller looks at the Freudian view that religion is a 'thought disorder'. He also examines his motivation behind making the series touching on the issues of death and the religious fanaticism of the 21st century.



The Fluoride Deception

The Fluoride Deception documents a powerful connection between big corporations, the U.S. military, and the historic reassurances of fluoride safety provided by the nation’s public health establishment. The Fluoride Deception is like a thriller, but one supported by two hundred pages of source notes, years of investigative reporting, scores of scientist interviews, and archival research in places such as the newly opened files of the Manhattan Project and the Atomic Energy Commission. The book is nothing less than an exhumation of one of the great secret narratives of the industrial era: how a grim workplace poison and the most damaging environmental pollutant of the cold war was added to our drinking water and toothpaste.



The Shock Doctrine

In THE SHOCK DOCTRINE, Naomi Klein explodes the myth that the global free market triumphed democratically. Exposing the thinking, the money trail and the puppet strings behind the world-changing crises and wars of the last four decades, The Shock Doctrine is the gripping story of how America’s “free market” policies have come to dominate the world-- through the exploitation of disaster-shocked people and countries.



What Makes a Genius

Could you have come up with Einstein's theory of relativity? If not - why not?

This is what Marcus du Sautoy, professor of mathematics, wants to explore. Marcus readily admits that he is no genius, but wants to know if geniuses are just an extreme version of himself - or whether their brains are fundamentally different.

Marcus meets some remarkable individuals - Tommy, an obsessive artist who uses his whole house as his canvas; Derek: blind, autistic, and a pianist with apparently prodigious gifts; Claire who is also blind, but whose brain has learnt to see using sound.

Marcus is shown how babies have remarkable abilities which most of us lose as teenagers. He meets a neuroscientist who claims he has evidence of innate ability, a scientist who's identified a gene for learning, and Dr. Paulus, who has discovered how to sharpen the brain... by electrically turbo-charging it.



Which Way Home

As the United States continues to build a wall between itself and Mexico, Which Way Home shows the personal side of immigration through the eyes of children who face harrowing dangers with enormous courage and resourcefulness as they endeavor to make it to the United States.

The film follows several unaccompanied child migrants as they journey through Mexico en route to the U.S. on a freight train they call "The Beast." Director Rebecca Cammisa (Sister Helen) tracks the stories of children like Olga and Freddy, nine-year-old Hondurans who are desperately trying to reach their families in Minnesota, and Jose, a ten-year-old El Salvadoran who has been abandoned by smugglers and ends up alone in a Mexican detention center, and focuses on Kevin, a canny, streetwise 14-year-old Honduran, whose mother hopes that he will reach New York City and send money back to his family. These are stories of hope and courage, disappointment and sorrow.

They are the ones you never hear about – the invisible ones.