The newest documentary from Ken Burns premieres Monday on PBS stations, and unlike topics Burns has tackled in the past — baseball, jazz, the Roosevelts, the National Parks — this time around the subject matter isn’t exactly an easy sell.
“Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies,” a three-part, six-hour series, tracks the history of the disease all the way from ancient Egypt to the latest research breakthroughs, the Chicago Tribune reports. The project is a collaboration between Burns, producing this time, and the film’s director, Barak Goodman.
“Cancer is perhaps the most feared of all diseases — which is exactly why Burns sees it as a vital topic, if never a welcome one,” the story reports.
Said Burns: “The essence of drama is conflict, and the essence of conflict is live or die. Those are the stakes here. … One out of three women and half of all men will get cancer” during their lifetime.
But it’s not all gloom and doom. Burns says of the documentary, “There are sad moments and there are exultant moments.” Then he adds: “If you’re curious about who you are and what your fate is, you’ve got to know about this.”
Please click on the link near the top of this story to read the Tribune’s in-depth report.