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Books are many things to many people, from status symbols to life-savers to dangerous portals to unwanted experiences, but few of us get to see them born. This charming short offers a swift tour of the Smith Settle printing and bookbinding company in Leeds, in the north of England, where books are still made the old-fashioned way. The director Glen Milner charts each step in the process as bookbinders piece together a new hardbound edition of the memoir Mango and Mimosa (1974) by the British writer and painter Suzanne St Albans. From folding pages to sewing and gluing paper to the leather spine, skilful human hands are front and centre throughout. Milner documents this melding of mechanics and craft with an almost musical rhythm, conveying skills and methods born of centuries of refinements.
Director: Glen Milner
Dazzling timelapse shows how microbes spoil our food – and sometimes enrich it
Inside the unique London community built by residents to defy housing discrimination
Film and visual culture
With human help, AIs are generating a new aesthetics. The results are trippy
From manners to mud – two women recall coming of age in Victorian London
Gender and identity
The joys and complications of raising a baby without gender in a binary world
Sports and games
Bodies, bikes and groovy music propel this stylish classic film from 1965
Can art in a swanky restaurant ever be transcendent? On Rothko’s Seagram Murals
The ancient world
Why did the Romans create a massive, entirely impractical map of their empire?
Human rights and justice
The staggering cruelty of Ireland’s Church-run ‘mother and baby homes’