Friday, June 15, 2012

Case Study No. 0385: The Librarian (1001 Inventions and the Library of Secrets)

1001 Inventions and The Library of Secrets - starring Sir Ben Kingsley as Al-Jazari
Three school children visit a dusty library to research the story of 'The Dark Ages'. What they find changes their world view dramatically as ingenious inventors and pioneers of science and culture are vividly brought to life.

Starring Oscar-winning legend Sir Ben Kingsley in the role of The Librarian, this astounding movie provides an eye-opening introduction to the 1001 Inventions initiative and is the centrepiece for the global touring exhibition.

Come and enjoy the movie in full widescreen and surround sound at the Science Museum in London (until the 30th June 2010).

Entry is free for both children and adults.


The 1001 Inventions exhibition opened at London's Science Museum on January 21st 2010. Since that time it has become one of the most popular exhibition's that this prestigious venue has ever hosted.

An average of 3,000 visitors a day are visiting the exhibition, and the feedback from the audience has been overwhelmingly positive.

This video gives a brief introduction to the exhibition's current residency. 1001 Inventions will be at the Science Museum in London from 21st January to 30th June 2010 (with a short closure from 25th Feb to 12th March).

See it now before it goes on it's global voyage to major cities around the world!


1001 Inventions is a global educational initiative that promotes awareness of the scientific and cultural achievements of Muslim civilisation, during the thousand year period from the 7th century onwards, and how those contributions helped build the foundations of our modern world.

Working with the world's leading academics, 1001 Inventions engages with the public through educational media and interactive global exhibitions, in order to highlight the shared cultural and technological inheritance of humanity.

Since it launched in March 2006, 1001 Inventions has successfully educated more than a million people, promoted cross-cultural understanding and strengthened social cohesion.

1001 Inventions was created by the academic Foundation for Science, Technology and Civilisation (FSTC) with support from the British Government.

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Tags: 1001 Inventions Library of Secrets Sir Ben Kingsley Exhibition Salim Al-Hassani Science Museum London FSTC Al-Jazari Elephant Clock Muslim Heritage Muslim Civilisation Science History Technology Civilisation Engineering Medicine Hospital Astronomy Physics Chemistry University Chris Rapley
Added: 3 months ago
From: 1001Inventions
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1001 Inventions and the Library of Secrets
Duration: 13 minutes
Produced and shown as part of the 1001 Inventions global touring exhibition
In association with Jameel Foundation
This film is for personal use only and must not be exhibited publicly, broadcast or reproduced
www dot 1001inventions dot com
Copyright 1001 Inventions, 2010. All rights reserved.

[scene opens with a young female librarian and her class entering an old library]
TEACHER: Okay ... Okay class, shh! I'm giving each group of you a different era of history to research, and the question is "What impact did your era have on the modern world?"
[she opens a folder and starts reading off names]
TEACHER: Sarah, your group has the ancient Greeks. Ravi, you've got the Romans. And Danny's group gets ...
[the of the children step forward]
Ah yes, a bit of a challenge for you. You get the Middle Ages. Some even call it the Dark Ages.
[the female member of the group rolls her eyes]
ISABELLA: Boooring.
TEACHER: See how you get on.
[they all mutter "Yes miss" before heading up the stairs]
TEACHER: So Savi, yes ... You get the Renaissance.
[cut to Danny's group entering a room on the upper floor, as they find the older male librarian (played by Ben Kingsley) dusting a large ornamental clock on the desk]
ISABELLA: Is that the librarian?
DANNY: I guess so.
[they slowly walk up to him]
LUKE: How are the Dark Ages going to have anything to do with us?
[Danny motions for him to be quiet, as he addresses the librarian]
DANNY: Uh, excuse me ...
[the librarian looks in the opposite direction]
DANNY: Sorry to bother you.
LIBRARIAN: [tersely] What do you want?
DANNY: Uh, we need to find out what impact the Dark Ages had on the modern world.
LIBRARIAN: Never was a period of history so poorly named ...
[Luke reaches out to touch the clock]
LIBRARIAN: Don't touch, it's priceless.
[Luke rolls his eyes]
LIBRARIAN: And I suppose someone's been filling your heads with the usual nonsense, eh? A thousand wasted years, a black hole in history, am I right?
DANNY: Uh, yeah, sort of ...
LIBRARIAN: You see, it's always the same. You assume it was all murder, disease, death and destruction. With marauding mobs of barbarians ripping down the good of former civilizations, burning and plundering as they went. Nothing of any worth invented either, eh? Ah, no no no. No no no.
[he shakes his head, then waves his hand at them]
LIBRARIAN: Go on, be off with you.
DANNY: Sorry to bother you.
[they turn to leave]
ISABELLA: Come on, it's probably not worth it. Everyone knows that the Greek and Romans invented everything, anyway.
[the librarian raises his head, then walks towards them]
LIBRARIAN: Ohhhhhh, did they now? And you're sure about that, are you?
[the children cautiously make their way back towards the desk]
LIBRARIAN: Y'know, I might just have something for you. You seem to be up for the task. I suppose I could ...
[he looks around, then motions for them to follow him]
LIBRARIAN: Follow me. I've got just the book for you!
[they all walk up a small circular staircase towards the upper floor of library, then head down a narrow hallway past several bookcases]
ISABELLA: [whispering] Where are we going?
DANNY: [whispering] Don't know!
LUKE: [whispering] Ask him!
[they stop]
DANNY: Uh, excuse me ... Where are we going?
LIBRARIAN: From darkness into light, my young friend. From ocean unto land. There are things you should know. Ah, yes indeed.
[they continue walking, and head into a large reading room]
LIBRARIAN: Yes indeed ... Now I know I left it 'round here somewhere.
[he looks around, then picks up a large old book]
LIBRARIAN: Ah, here it is!
[he places the book on a nearby table]
LIBRAIAN: Now, take a look ... If you dare.
[the glowing book suddenly opens by itself, in an explosion of color and light, as the children sit down mesmerized]
DANNY: What's going on?
[they stop looking up at the lights and look towards the end of the table, where the librarian (or someone who looks very similar) is dressed in ancient Middle Eastern garb]
AL JAZARI: Welcome to the Dark Ages ... Or as it should be known, the Golden Ages.
ISABELLA: Who are you?
AL JAZARI: I am Al-Jazari, engineer and ingenious inventor.
LUKE: I thought you said this was the Dark Ages. It doesn't look very ... dark.
AL JAZARI: That's because it's all ... a matter of perspective, my soon to be illuminated friend. Of course, there were parts of the world that weren't dark at all, but in a civilization that stretched from Spain to China. The golden rays of discovery and invention shone over everything.
LUKE: What civilization?
AL JAZARI: The Muslim civilization, my young friend. Through scholars and scientists of various faiths, some of the most important discoveries known to man were made at this time. Discoveries that drew on knowledge of the ancients, but have more connections with your modern world than you could possibly ever imagine.
LUKE: Like what?
AL JAZARI: Well ... All sorts of things.


[the glowing book illustrates several examples of ancient Muslim discovery in such fields as medicine and astronomy]
LUKE: So all these things were developed during the Golden Ages?
AL JAZARI: Oh, that's just the tip of the iceberg. There were thousands of other inventions, covering all areas of life. And in the years that followed, their influence spread across the whole of medieval Europe. So you see ... Wasn't so dark after all.
DANNY: What about you?
ISABELLA: What did you invent?
AL JAZARI: Well, I don't want to be beheaded, but I made some ground-breaking advances in engineering.
[he kneels down next to them, as the image of a crankshaft appears above the book]
AL JAZARI: I suppose among my most significant discoveries ... Converted rotary motion into linear motion, using a crank and connecting rod.
[the image morphs into a steam-powered locomotive, then a Ford Model T, then a modern racecar]
AL JAZARI: It's essentially pumps and engines. In fact, I've no idea how the Industrial Revolution could've happened hundreds of years later without such a device. Oh, but I never get the credit I deserve ...
[he stands up]
AL JAZARI: But my crowning glory was my amazing time-telling machine.
[the image morphs into the large ornamental clock that the librarian was dusting earlier]
AL JAZARI: My legendary Elephant Clock!
DANNY: It's a clock ...
AL JAZARI: Yes! Dozens of components, collected from different cultures around the world ... Indian, Greek, Arabian, Egyptian, Chinese.
LUKE: Wow ... A United Nations clock!
ISABELLA: That is pretty cool!
DANNY: Does it actually tell the time?
AL JAZARI: Well, yes ... of course!
[the image slowly dissolves]
AL JAZARI: If it wasn't for me, thousands of people would be late for everything.
[the children chuckle]
AL JAZARI: Speaking of time, we'd better get you back ...
[he slowly starts backing away]
AL JAZARI: And remember, spread the word. This was a golden age, and I've only shown you a tiny part of this wondrous time. There are countless other scientists and inventions directly connected to your modern world. You're just gonna have to find out for yourselves.
DANNY: But wait ...
[he waves goodbye, then fades away, as the color and light are sucked back into the book as it slams itself shut]
DANNY: Whoa! Did you ...
LUKE: Yeah!
ISABELLA: That wasn't quite so boring ...
[she glances at her watch]
ISABELLA: Come on, we're gonna be late!
[they get up to leave, but Danny notices a small burst of color, so he turns around to find that the book has morphed into a copy of "Muslim Heritage In Our World"]
[cut to the teacher speaking with her students, as Danny's group climb down the stairs behind her]
TEACHER: So, what have we learned? The Romans, the Greeks, the Renaissance, and the Industrial Revolution ... All have great relevance to us today!
[she looks around]
TEACHER: Where's Danny's group?
[the students point at Danny and his friends on the staircase]
TEACHER: Ah, our intrepid Dark Ages group! You probably had a much harder time finding any connections with the modern world ...
DANNY: Actually miss, that's not strictly true ...
[cut back to the librarian dusting the Elephant Clock, as he turns to the camera and smiles, then returns to his dusting]

Al Jazari and Librarian - Ben Kingsley

Director - Alan Deakins
Producer - Andrew Hardwick
Executive Producers - Phil Blundell, Professor Salim TS Al-Hassani

Danny - James Holly
Isabella - Courtney George
Luke - Rhiann Connor
Ibn Al-Haytham - Stewart Scudamore
Abbas Ibn Firnas - Andrew Bridgmont
Al-Zahrawi - Nicholas Khan
Al Lijli Al-Astrulabi - Tara Jaffar
Teacher - Samantha Edmonds

Writer - Thomas Fickling
Music Composer - Robert Hartshorne
Costume Designer - Camille Benda
Casting Director - Carl Proctor

Special Thanks to
Jameel Foundation
Evan Astrowsky
Professor Mohammed Abattouy
Rebecca Mileham
Science Museum, London
The Trustees of Dr. Williams's Library

Produced by The Edge Picture Company
In association with Foundation for Science Technology and Civilisation
1001 Inventions Limited (c) MMIX



Oscar-winning actor and screen legend Sir Ben Kingsley has taken the starring role in a short feature film about the scientific heritage of Muslim civilisation. The mini-movie, entitled "1001 Inventions and the Library of Secrets", accompanies a global touring exhibition which was previously open to the public at the Science Museum in London.

The film has already been seen by over 22 million people around the world. The 1001 Inventions exhibition completed its record-breaking residency at London's Science Museum with 400,000 visitors in the first half of 2010, followed by a blockbuster residency at the iconic and historic Sultan Ahmed Square in Istanbul with a further 400,000 visitors over a seven-week period. The exhibition then opened at the New York Hall of Science in December 2010, welcoming an additional 250,000 during its five-month US premiere. More than 500,000 people visited 1001 Inventions at the California Science Center in Los Angeles between May 2011 and March 2012. The next venue for the US tour will be the National Geographic Museum in Washington, DC, opening in August 2012.

A bilingual Arabic-English version of the 1001 Inventions exhibition was launched in November 2011 in Abu Dhabi for a five-week residency as part of the unaugural Abu Dhabi Science Festival.

In the movie, Sir Ben takes on the role of a mysterious and cantankerous librarian who takes a group of school children on an enlightening journey to meet pioneering scientists and engineers from the history of Muslim civilisation. The librarian is then revealed to be 12th century engineering genius Al-Jazari.

* Gold Award for Best Education Film (Cannes Film Festival, France, 2010)
* Grand Winner for Best Film (New York Film Festivals, 2010)
* Gold Winner for Best Film in Society and Social Issues (New York Film Festivals, 2010)
* Gold Winner for Best Film in Arts and Humanities (New York Film Festivals, 2010)
*Gold Winner for Best Direction (New York Film Festivals, 2010)
* Gold Winner for Best Writing (New York Film Festivals, 2010)
* Gold Winner for Best Film for an Event Venue (New York Film Festivals, 2010)
* Silver Winner for Best Narration and Performance (New York Film Festivals, 2010)
* Silver Winner for Best Cinematography (New York Film Festivals, 2010)
* Finalist Certificate for Best Original Music (New York Film Festivals, 2010)
* Gold Award for Best Education Film (IVCA, London 2010)
* Gold Award for Best Photography (IVCA, London 2010)
* Silver Award for Best Drama (IVCA, London 2010)
* Silver Award for Best Original Music (IVCA, London 2010)
* Grand Winner for Best Education Film (World Media Festival, Hamburg 2010)
* Gold Award for Best Education Film for Schools (World Media Festival, Hamburg 2010)
* Gold Award for Best Education Film (US International Film Festival, Los Angeles 2010)
* Gold Award for Original Music (US International Film Festival, Los Angeles 2010)
* Gold Award for Specialty Production (US International Film Festival, Los Angeles 2010)
* Gold Award for Best Writing (US International Film Festival, Los Angeles 2010)
* Silver Award for Best Direction (US International Film Festival, Los Angeles 2010)

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