What did Adolph Hitler have to do with Walt Disney? Who are the world’s most influential individuals of the past half-century? Why would a famous Scottish actor want to take a joyride across the U.S. in an old car? What form of art can lead to an artist’s death? Discovery Civilization Channel probes these questions and more in its enlightening and entertaining new season.
CAR WEEK (Theme Week)
Robbie Coltrane (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Cracker, Nuns on the Run) is on a mission. The larger-than-life actor and lover of big, classic automobiles travels to California, buys a vintage Cadillac and drives it across 12 states to New York. Along the way, he meets a number of charismatic and quirky characters and discovers the real America. A marvellous mini-series, Coltrane in a Cadillac is high-octane fuel for this moving theme week.
RED CARPET WEEK (Theme Week)
Discovery Civilization Channel rolls out the red carpet with a week’s worth of special programs devoted to various monarchies. Among the highlights is Search for the Amber Room, an archeological sleuth mission seeking a chamber full of amber treasures that were a casualty of the dethroning of the Czarist rule in Russia.
Meet Philippe Starck, France’s greatest designer and a fascinating figure whose actions, thoughts and contradictions consistently delight or annoy. Despite the wealth of words and images devoted to Starck by the media, the man has remained a mystery in terms of his creative sources and personality. In Starck, a highly revealing one-hour documentary, the enigmatic designer dons camera-glasses and films his work, home and friends, helping to put his complex character and creative process in clearer perspective.
A five-wheel shopping cart? Why not? That’s the attitude of designers Richard Seymour and Dick Powell, who have won awards galore for utilizing their ingenuity to put a new twist on old concepts. In the new series, Better by Design, they review and renew everyday items they believe have outlived their usefulness, from economy airline seats to the common kitchen bin.
CARTOONS GO TO WAR (Special)
Believe it or not, Hitler’s favourite film was Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Obsessed with Disney magic, the dictator demanded that Germany be turned into an animation powerhouse. In 1941, the Nazis founded a studio to produce Disney-quality animation as well as anti-Semitic and war propaganda for movie theatres in the occupied territories. At the time, the Americans weren’t above using cartoons as a means of communicating war propaganda, as is evident in an equally fascinating film that’s part of this special presentation.
GRAFFITI LIMBO (Special)
It can cause artists to face arrest or even death. It’s graffiti, a vibrant combination of art and urban dissent. Graffiti Limbo looks at the street origins of this popular creative expression, where illegal tagging and bombing are part of its subversive essence. The program also explores graffiti as a legitimate art form celebrated at international festivals.