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Bayard & me

16 minutes

Spacesavers

4 minutes

Can food nourish your soul?

2 minutes

Birth control your own adventure

5 minutes

The acrobatic fly

3 minutes

How a once overlooked civil-rights leader became an icon of gay marriage equality

In the 1980s, the US activist Bayard Rustin (1912-1987) adopted his younger longtime partner Walter Naegle, a strategy that gay couples employed as the only means to share civil and legal protections at a time of state-sanctioned discrimination. It was not, however, the first time that Rustin was at the forefront of a social struggle. After studying Gandhian methods of nonviolent resistance during a trip to India in 1948, he helped to teach the principles to Martin Luther King Jr, and to organise the March on Washington in 1963. Despite being a leading organiser and strategist in the fight for racial equality from 1955 to 1968, Rustin was a somewhat unsung civil-rights hero during his life, largely because he was openly gay. As recounted by Naegle, Bayard & Me explores how Rustin’s legacy, which intersected with the two of the biggest civil-rights struggles in US history, was cemented posthumously by LGBT activists who recognised him as a pioneer in the fight for marriage equality.

Director: Matt Wolf

Producer: Brendan Doyle

Website: Super Deluxe

The peculiar Boston tradition that (mostly) keeps the winter parking peace

After snowstorms in Boston, street parking tensions tend to rise, especially when car owners clear out spaces near their residences only to later find another driver has swiped their hard-earned spot. But walk the city’s streets in the wake of a blizzard, and you’ll notice a uniquely Bostonian visual language that aims to keep the parking peace – even if it isn’t always successful. In a decades-old winter tradition codified by a former mayor, residents in most Boston neighbourhoods are allowed to hold their spaces for up to 48 hours using everyday objects. The formerly Boston-based director Sarah Ginsburg explores the peculiar practice in her film Spacesavers. Shot during the winter of 2015 – a record-breaking season for snowfall – the wry observational short offers a distinctive vision of Boston’s winter streets where everything from lawn chairs to walkers and golf bags become ‘keep out’ signs.

Director: Sarah Ginsburg

Producer: Will Lennon

Liberation of the soul through diet – how a Jain ascetic lives

‘Soul requires spirituality. Soul does not require food.’

Nonviolence towards all forms of life is a cornerstone of Jainism, a nontheistic Indian religion that dates back to the 6th century BCE, and today has around 7 million followers. To Jainism’s strictest adherents, even a walk through the grass or drinking tea with honey can be a morally perilous proposition, given the soul-possessing living things, from plants to insects to microbes, that can be harmed in the process. Part of a video series on the intersection of food and spirituality by the Italian-born, London-based filmmaker Matan Rochlitz, this short features a Jain ascetic discussing how a restricted diet (mostly water and dry grains) guides his spiritually.

Director: Matan Rochlitz

Period drama: one woman’s journey through birth control

The multitude of female birth-control products on the market hardly means there’s a perfect option for everyone. From the combined oral contraceptive (commonly known as the Pill), to the IUD (intrauterine device, aka the coil) to the NuvaRing, the availability of choice can mask one major downside: for some, the side-effects of birth control are a problem in their own right. In her short film Birth Control Your Own Adventure, the Pakistani-American filmmaker Sindha Agha presents her personal journey through all the options, starting at age 11, when she was prescribed the Pill for the pain of endometriosis. Agha relates her struggle to find the least-worst option with witty visuals and a vivid design. In its intimate detail, the short is especially enlightening for those who don’t menstruate, prompting the question: what about male birth-control products?

Director: Sindha Agha

Feet of strength! Spotlight on the amazing agility of houseflies

Pesky though they might be, houseflies are remarkable biological specimens – strong enough to carry up to half their own body weight and, as you’ve likely noticed when trying to swat one, exceptionally quick and nimble. For his 1910 short The Acrobatic Fly, the pioneering British naturalist and filmmaker F Percy Smith put the strength and dexterity of houseflies on display, filming one as it juggled items including a cork and a miniature barbell. Perhaps most impressive, however, is a sequence that features a fly rotating a ball with another fly balancing atop it, like a tiny circus act. For more slightly creepy early film fun from F Percy Smith, watch To Demonstrate How Spiders Fly.

Director: F Percy Smith

How a once overlooked civil-rights leader became an icon of gay marriage equality

In the 1980s, the US activist Bayard Rustin (1912-1987) adopted his younger longtime partner Walter Naegle, a strategy that gay couples employed as the only means to share civil and legal protections at a time of state-sanctioned discrimination. It was not, however, the first time that Rustin was at the forefront of a social struggle. After studying Gandhian methods of nonviolent resistance during a trip to India in 1948, he helped to teach the principles to Martin Luther King Jr, and to organise the March on Washington in 1963. Despite being a leading organiser and strategist in the fight for racial equality from 1955 to 1968, Rustin was a somewhat unsung civil-rights hero during his life, largely because he was openly gay. As recounted by Naegle, Bayard & Me explores how Rustin’s legacy, which intersected with the two of the biggest civil-rights struggles in US history, was cemented posthumously by LGBT activists who recognised him as a pioneer in the fight for marriage equality.

Director: Matt Wolf

Producer: Brendan Doyle

Website: Super Deluxe

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Essay/
Cognition & Intelligence
The broad, ragged cut

Aptitude and IQ tests are used to distinguish those young people who deserve a chance from those who do not. Do they work?

Elizabeth Svoboda

Essay/
Social Psychology
Make up your mind(s)!

A pair of cognitive scientists, married for half a century, explain why two argumentative heads can be better than one

Uta Frith & Chris Frith