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Part of Doc Stories film series

Oliver Sacks: His Own Life

Directed by Ric Burns

USA | Documentary | 109

2 Nov
Sat, Nov 2, 2019 at 5:30 pm
Vogue Theatre
Vogue Theatre 3290 Sacramento Street
San Francisco, CA 94115 United States
More tickets may become available during Daily Noon Ticket Releases; check this page for updates.

Guests Expected

Director Ric Burns and author and interview subject Steve Silberman are expected to attend.


Compassionate humanist, neurologist, and award-winning author Oliver Sacks shares his 82 memorable years on the planet with director Ric Burns in this wide-ranging and entertaining film. Using a reading of the memoir On the Move (2015) surrounded by loved ones in Sacks’s Bronx apartment as the through-line to elicit the man’s remembrances, Burns also intersperses family photos, archival footage (including some of the “awakenings” from Sacks’s L-DOPA trials), and comments from various friends to fill out the picture of this remarkable individual. In addition to presenting Sacks’s various breakthroughs in writing and scientific study, His Own Life also depicts a time after Sacks receives his cancer diagnosis which prompts moving and personal reflections on his life’s work, loves, and achievements.

“The heart of the film lies in the interviews that Burns conducted with Sacks himself, some in private and some with his friends and colleagues in attendance. When Sacks realizes his death is imminent and says his goodbyes to these long-term associates, the scenes are extremely moving. The pic is always elegantly photographed, and it is a tribute to Burns’ discretion as well as his filmmaking skill that he earned the trust not just of Sacks but of so many others who played an important role in his life.” – Stephen Farber, The Hollywood Reporter

“Sacks wrote about people in extreme states — of sensory and neurological damage, of awareness and sheer being. And Oliver Sacks: His Own Life, directed by the redoubtable Ric Burns (Andy Warhol: A Documentary Film), is 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.” – Owen Glieberman, Variety

Director Ric Burns

Ric Burns is an internationally recognized documentary filmmaker and writer, who has been writing, directing, and producing historical documentaries for over 25 years, since his collaboration on the PBS series The Civil War (1990), which he produced with his brother Ken and co-wrote with Geoffrey C. Ward. Since founding Steeplechase Films in 1989, his work has won numerous film and television awards including six Emmy Awards, two George Foster Peabody Awards, and the D.W. Griffith Award of the National Board of Review. Burns was educated at Columbia University and Cambridge University. He lives in New York City with his wife and two sons.

Film Details

Language English

Year 2019

Runtime 109

Country USA

Director Ric Burns

Producer Leigh Howell, Bonnie Lafave, Kathryn Clinard

Editor Li-Shin Yu, Tom Patterson, Chih Hsuan Liang

Cinematographer Buddy Squires

Music Brian Keane