Through the Lens

Tuesday, we're talking about llamas. Turns out they’re pretty fascinating. And a lot has changed for them over the years. Once persecuted by the Conquistadors, these days they're kept as pets, used for therapy, and dressed in costume for competition.

Dolores Huerta co-founded the first farmers workers union alongside Cesar Chavez. But she's not as well known as Chavez, and the director Peter Bratt believes she left out of the history because she was a strong defiant woman. Bratt set out to change that.

 


The year was 1944. Walking home from church one night, Recy Taylor, a black woman, was raped by six white men. Taylor’s story is the subject of a new documentary film that sheds light on a dark period in American history and the activism it spawned.


Filmmaker Bill Morrison's latest film has very few words or talking heads. It's mostly made of clips from silent movies buried for decades beneath a swimming pool in the Canadian Yukon. 

There’s a lot of talk about renewable energy these days. But what’s really happening? Will renewables ever replace fossil fuels? In a new documentary, filmmaker James Redford travels the country to find out just how far renewable energy can take us.

Filmmaker Doug Nichol’s new documentary is a tribute to typewriters. In an age of high-tech, do-it-all gadgetry, the typewriter may be on the edge of extinction, but it still offers artists of all stripes unique access to the creative spirit.

When Bryan Fogel set out to make a documentary film about doping in cycling, he never figured he’d wind up in a global controversy. But that’s what happened. He met and befriended a talented Russian anti-doping scientist, Grigory Rodchenkov. Rodchenkov had actually been helping Russian athletes beat Olympic doping tests, at the behest of Vladimir Putin. Fogel’s film documents the unraveling of this conspiracy and the scientist-turned-whistleblower at its center. It’s called ICARUS, and Fogel joins us Monday to talk about it.

Israeli choreographer Ohad Naharin is one of the dance world’s most important figures. He can be demanding and intimidating, but professional dancers have pushed beyond their personal limits to express his unique movement language. It’s called “gaga.” Naharin says it’s about listening to the body before telling it what to do. Wednesday, we continue our series on documentary film with a profile of Naharin’s life and work. Director Tomer Heymann joins us to tell the fascinating story of an artistic genius.

Wednesday, we continue our Through the Lens series with a poignant film about the devastating impact economic inequality has had on America’s black working class. Utah-based filmmaker Andrew James’s documentary Street Fighting Men follows the lives of three men in Detroit as they struggle to build something lasting for themselves and future generations. James will join us to tell their stories of fighting to find steady ground in a community wracked by crime, violence, and dwindling opportunity.

The next documentary in our Through the Lens series is a true story of desperation, scams, and goat testicles. Director Penny Lane joins us to talk about John Romulus Brinkley, a man who claimed to have a cure for impotence and many other ailments in 1920s Kansas. He took to newfangled radio to tout his unorthodox treatments, but soon found his nemesis in one Morris Fishbein, editor of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Lane’s film is called NUTS!

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