Hopewell Theater Presents “Oliver Sacks: His Own Life,” April 21

Dr. Oliver Sacks seated next to his collection of elements and in front of the periodic table of elements. (Photo by Jurgen Frank/Corbis Outline)

On January 15, 2015, a few weeks after completing his memoir, writer and neurologist Oliver Sacks learned that the rare form of cancer for which he had been treated seven years earlier had returned, and that he only had a few months left to live.

A month later, Sacks sat down for a series of marathon filmed interviews in his apartment in New York. Surrounded by family and friends, books and minerals, and notebooks from six decades of thinking and writing about the brain, he talked about his life and work, his dreams and fears, his abiding sense of wonder at the natural world, and the place of human beings within it. He spoke with candor, and with unflinching honesty — a profoundly gifted 81-year-old man facing death with remarkable courage and vitality who was still vigorous while facing the end. He was determined to come to grips with what his life has meant and what it means to be, as he put it, “a sentient being on this beautiful planet.”

Drawing on these twilight reflections, and featuring nearly two dozen deeply revealing and personal interviews conducted with family members, colleagues, patients, and close friends, Oliver Sacks: His Own Life explores the extraordinary life and work of the renowned neurologist, clinician, and writer.

Directed by Ric Burns, the film is in part the biography of an extraordinary physician and writer who “dramatized,” one man later said, “the most strange and thrilling scientific and cultural issue of our time: the nature of the human mind, through the simple act of telling stories.”

The film is part of Hopewell Theater’s ongoing series, The Art of Living Well, featuring inspiring films, speakers, and interactive discussions exploring ways of cultivating serenity, meaning, and a deeper connection to one’s self and the world.

Oliver Sacks: His Own Life will be screened on Tuesday, April 21 at 7 p.m. Purchase tickets at https://bit.ly/2vJsO9M.

Hopewell Theater is located at 5 South Greenwood Avenue in Hopewell. For a complete list of upcoming events, visit https://hopewelltheater.com/.

Oliver Sacks in Manhattan on the edge of the Hudson, 1990. By Ken Shung/MPTVImages.com