Virtual Cinema “Oliver Sacks: His Own Life” Honors Rock-Star Neurologist September 25, 2020
Legendary neurologist Oliver Sacks (1933–2015) was a natural historian of the human mind, a storyteller at heart, and a mystery solver. Part Sherlock Holmes, part Sigmund Freud, he served as the inspiration for the doctor portrayed by Robin Williams in the 1990 film Awakenings.
After he finished writing his autobiography in 2015, Sacks learned that the cancer he had been treated for earlier had returned. With only a few months to live, he sat down for series of interviews.
Abiding Sense of Wonder
Surrounded by family and friends, and notebooks from six decades of thinking and writing about the brain, Sacks talked about his life and work, his dreams and fears, his abiding sense of wonder at the natural world, and the place of human beings within it. He was determined to come to grips with what his life meant, and what it means to be “a sentient being on this beautiful planet.”
Drawing on his profoundly moving reflections, this inspiring documentary features deeply revealing and personal interviews with family members, colleagues, patients, and close friends, including Temple Grandin, Christof Koch, Robert Krulwich, Jonathan Miller, and Paul Theroux, among others. The film also draws on unique access to the extensive archives of the Oliver Sacks Foundation.
Oliver Sacks: His Own Life is in part the biography of an extraordinary physician and writer who was dogged by his own neuroses and by the rejection of his medical colleagues but who nonetheless redefined the nature of the human mind, through the simple act of telling compassionate stories. It is also an illuminating exploration of the science of human consciousness and the nature of subjectivity, and a meditation on the deep and intimate relationship between art, science, and storytelling.
Underwriting for the Film Department is provided by Tenaris and the Vaughn Foundation. Generous funding is provided by Nina and Michael Zilkha; The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea; Franci Neely; Carrin Patman and Jim Derrick; Lynn S. Wyatt; ILEX Foundation; L’Alliance Française de Houston; and The Foundation for Independent Media Arts.