Oliver Sacks: His Own Life
Directed by Ric Burns
A month after receiving a fatal diagnosis in January 2015, Oliver Sacks sat down for a series of filmed interviews in his apartment in New York City. For eighty hours, surrounded by family, friends, and notebooks from six decades of thinking and writing about the brain, he talked about his life and work, his abiding sense of wonder at the natural world, and the place of human beings within it. Drawing on these deeply personal reflections, as well as nearly two dozen interviews with close friends, family members, colleagues and patients, and archival material from every point in his life, this film is the story of a beloved doctor and writer who redefined our understanding of the brain and mind.
Watch our Q&A with three time Emmy Award-winning writer, director, and producer Ric Burns moderated by Tom Needham, host of Sounds of Film, WUSB Radio:
"A PORTRAIT AT ONCE TENDER AND THRILLING, a movie that presents us with a man who led an eccentrically defiant, at times reckless existence that was the furthest thing from cunningly planned. He was a wanderer in the body of a clinician, like Jack Kerouac crossed with Jonas Salk. He was that rare if not unique thing, a scientific navigator of the soul."
“One of the surprising and moving lessons of this revealing film is how often the most gifted people are unappreciated. Late in life, Sacks earned many honorary degrees and awards from the medical establishment, but he spent a far longer period of his life as an outsider and often miserably unhappy, even suicidal man. Perhaps his own torments helped to create the sympathy for society’s outsiders that led to his brilliant discoveries. At least that is the most provocative insight contained in this THOUGHTFUL, DEEPLY AFFECTING film.”