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‘Oliver Sacks: His Own Life’: Release date, plot, trailer and all you need to know about documentary on legendary neurologist



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Dr Oliver Sacks, one of the most celebrated figures in modern science, was a neurologist, naturalist, scientist, and celebrated author who explored the strangest pathways of the brains and spun his case studies into best-selling books. He believed that the brain was the “most incredible thing in the universe” and became widely known for his case histories about both his patients’ and his own disorders and unusual experiences. Some of Dr Sacks’ books have gone on to become play adaptations, feature films, animated films, opera, dance, fine art, and classical music. The neurologist, who achieved a level of prominence rare among scientists, is the subject of a new documentary entitled ‘Oliver Sacks: His Own Life’. Here is everything you need to know about it. 

Release date

‘Oliver Sacks: His Own Life’ will launch nationwide on virtual cinema platform Kino Marquee & Film Forum virtual cinema on September 23.


(Kino Lorber)

The unscripted film is a compelling tribute to the revered neurologist and author, Oliver Sacks, who defined such neurological conditions as Tourette syndrome and autism and helped bring them to public awareness. ‘Oliver Sacks: His Own Life’ explores the life and work of the legendary neurologist and raconteur, as he shares candid details of his battles with drug addiction, homophobia, and a medical establishment that accepted his work only decades after the fact. It features exclusive interviews with Sacks from just weeks before he was diagnosed with terminal cancer and months before his death in August 2015. It also comprises archival footage from the Oliver Sacks foundational and personal interviews with family members, colleagues, patients, and close friends including Jonathan Miller, Robert Silvers, Temple Grandin, Christof Koch, Robert Krulwich, Lawrence Weschler, Roberto Calasso, Paul Theroux, Bill Hayes, Kate Edgar, and Atul Gawande, among others.

Dr Sacks is best known for his literary works like ‘Awakenings’, ‘The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat’ and also expressing his own experiences. He was a fearless explorer of the unknown and would delve into cognitive worlds, using his patients’ illness as a starting point for eloquent meditations on consciousness and the human condition. He helped redefine our comprehension of the brain and mind, the diversity of human experience, and our shared humanity. He also elucidated how the normal brain deals with perception, memory, and individuality. Furthermore, many of his readers especially treasured his style of writing. His book, ‘Awakenings’ was adapted into a 1990 Academy Award-nominated film of the same name starring Robin Williams and Robert De Niro. He and his book ‘Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain’ were the subject of ‘Musical Minds’, an episode of the PBS series ‘Nova’. Dr Sacks became the recipient of a CBE for services to medicine in the 2008 Birthday Honours.

(Kino Lorber)

‘Oliver Sacks: His Own Life’ had its world premiere at the 2019 Telluride Film Festival, followed by screenings at the New York, Hamptons (where it won the Audience Award for Documentary Feature) and AFI Festivals. The exclusive US broadcast premiere is slated for 2021 on PBS as part of the award-winning American Masters documentary series.


‘Oliver Sacks: His Own Life’ is directed by filmmaker Ric Burns (Civil War). It is a Vulcan Productions, Steeplechase Films, American Masters Pictures, Motto Pictures, Passion Pictures, HHMI Tangled Bank Studios, Sandbox Films and Independent Television Service, Inc production in association with Artemis Rising Foundation, Arthur Altschul Jr Films, ARTE and WDR. It is produced by Leigh Howell, Bonnie Lafave and Kathryn Clinard and executive producers include Paul G Allen, Carole Tomko, Rocky Collins, Michael Kantor, Julie Goldman, Christopher Clements, Doron Weber, Arthur G Altschul Jr, Margaret Munzer Loeb, Nion McEvoy, Regina K Scully, Geralyn White Dreyfous, David Guy Elisco, Sean B Carroll, Sally Jo Fifer, John Battsek, Nicole Stott and Greg Boustead.

The film will be released by Zeitgeist Films in association with Kino Lorber.


MEA WorldWide (MEAWW) will update this page with the trailer as soon as it’s made available. 

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