Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Q&As with Ric Burns on Sept. 30 (joined by Kate Edgar and Bill Hayes) & Oct. 3 (joined by Robert Krulwich and Ren Weschler)
For decades, Oliver Sacks, M.D. captured the imagination of the public with his eloquently written case studies of cognitive disorders. Despite sharing with the world one revelation after another about the intricacies, idiosyncrasies, and amazements of the human mind, Sacks remained private for much of his life, specifically about his struggles growing up gay in the repressive England of the 1950s. In Ric Burns’s invigorating documentary, partly shot before Sacks’s death in 2015 and featuring extensive scenes with the man himself, we get to know Sacks, from his childhood with a schizophrenic older brother, to his years as a champion bodybuilder and motorcycle aficionado, to his remarkable accomplishments as one of our foremost neurologists, including his groundbreaking work on patients with the sleeping sickness encephalitis lethargica, which became the basis for his book Awakenings. Burns’s documentary is a fitting and moving tribute to a man who never stopped wondering what it was like to be in the head of another sentient being. A PBS/American Masters release.