Watch The Machine That Made Us
- 59 min
The Machine That Made Us is a fascinating documentary film from 2008 directed by Simon Schaffer and starring Stephen Fry, Barbara Rupp, and Cornelia Schneider. The film explores the history and development of the printing press, a revolutionary invention that transformed the way the world communicates and disseminates information. At the heart of the film is the story of Johannes Gutenberg, the inventor of the printing press. The film takes a deep dive into his life and times, exploring his struggles to develop and perfect the technology that would change the world. We see how he had to contend with political, financial, and personal obstacles along the way, including bankruptcy and debt, disputes with partners and patrons, and even legal battles.
Despite these challenges, Gutenberg persisted in his work and eventually succeeded in creating a machine that could reproduce written text with astonishing speed and accuracy. He invented movable type, a system of individual letters and symbols that could be arranged and rearranged on a tray to form words and sentences. He then combined this with a press that could apply ink and pressure to the type and transfer the text onto a sheet of paper. The result was a revolution in the world of printing and publishing, as books, pamphlets, and other printed materials became much cheaper and easier to produce.
The Machine That Made Us examines the impact that Gutenberg's invention had on society, politics, religion, and culture. The film shows how the printing press helped to spread ideas and information more widely than ever before, leading to the rise of a new class of thinkers, writers, and activists who used the printed word to challenge the status quo and advance new ideas. We see how it helped to fuel the Renaissance, the Reformation, and the Enlightenment, and how it helped to shape the modern world in countless other ways.
Throughout the film, we hear commentary from a wide range of experts, including historians, archaeologists, curators, and other scholars. Stephen Fry serves as the film's engaging and informative narrator, guiding us through the many complexities and nuances of the story with his trademark wit and charm. We also hear from scholars who have studied replicas of Gutenberg's press and have even attempted to recreate the printing process using authentic techniques and materials.
The Machine That Made Us is a visually stunning film, featuring stunning footage of ancient manuscripts, early printing presses, and intricate printing techniques. The film is shot in a documentary style, with interviews and commentary interspersed with historical reenactments, animations, and demonstrations of printing techniques. The overall effect is both informative and entertaining, engaging viewers with the fascinating story of one of the most important inventions in human history.
Overall, The Machine That Made Us is a must-see film for anyone interested in the history of technology, communication, and culture. It offers a rich and nuanced portrait of one of the most transformative inventions in human history, celebrating its achievements while also exploring its complex and often surprising legacies. With its engaging narration, stunning visuals, and thoughtful commentary, The Machine That Made Us is a film that rewards repeated viewings, inviting audiences to delve deeper into the fascinating world of the printing press and the many ways in which it continues to shape our world today.
The Machine That Made Us is a 2008 documentary with a runtime of 59 minutes. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.3.