AJFF Intro: Adventures of a Mathematician
Based on his autobiography of the same name, this warmhearted film tells the story of one of the brilliant minds behind the Manhattan Project.
To prepare you for 21st year of the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival, completely virtual-for-the-first time as you’ve never seen before, we bring you 21 previews spotlighting the breath of films offered for your home viewing. The films, which represent more than half of those in the AJFF lineup Feb. 17-28, include classics, intimate family dramas, upbeat comedy and historic documentaries. Sit back and relax as the AJFF brings us together through film.
Adventures may not be the first word that comes to mind when you think about the work of a mathematician. Sure, Indiana Jones was an adventurous archaeologist, but how many mathematicians can you think of who fit the bill? Meet Stanislaw (Stan) Ulam, the real-life hero of the biopic “Adventures of a Mathematician.” Granted, Stan is no Indiana Jones, but his work in the 1940s made him an unsung hero of his time.
Based on his autobiography of the same name, this warmhearted film tells the story of one of the brilliant minds behind the Manhattan Project. Stan Ulam may not be a household name like his peers Oppenheimer and Teller but, as the film shows, his contribution to the project was profound.
This German-Polish-British co-production introduces us to Ulam, a Polish-Jewish mathematician who joined the Manhattan Project in Los Alamos and became one of the key figures in the development of the hydrogen bomb, along with being a pioneer in computer technology, and a card shark to boot. While in Los Alamos, Stan and his brother Adam have growing concerns about the fate of their parents and sister left behind in Poland. After Germany surrenders, Stan and his fellow scientists become concerned that their work may be for naught, until, that is, the plan to drop an atomic bomb over Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
How this plays out is the crux of this drama. The Polish actor Philippe Tlokinski brings Stan Ulam to life with his deeply moving performance. The film is beautifully shot and features a haunting musical score. You won’t want to miss these adventures of a brilliant, yet almost forgotten, mathematical genius of the 20th century.