Feature

The Week’s guide to what’s worth watching

Plus, Other highlights; Show of the week; Movies on TV this week

The Human CameraArtist Stephen Wiltshire is autistic, but he has the remarkable ability to draw buildings in virtually photographic detail from memory—including entire cities on giant canvases. Cameras follow Wiltshire as he sets out to draw the largest-ever panoramic view of his native city of London—after studying its skyline for only 30 minutes from a helicopter. Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 9 p.m., BBC America

Great Performances: Pavarotti, a Life in Seven AriasA year after Luciano Pavarotti’s passing, this 90-minute retrospective combines rare performance footage of the operatic tenor with the recollections of friends and admirers. Interviewees include Plácido Domingo and José Carreras, his partners in the famed Three Tenors, as well as soprano Joan Sutherland and Juan Diego Flórez, who may be the next superstar tenor. Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 9 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Portraits of a LadyIn October 2006, former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor sat for her portrait before a group of 25 New York City artists and related her life story to them. This film documents the sittings and the very different works that came out of them, presenting a colorful profile of O’Connor as well as a thoughtful look at the process of portraiture. Thursday, Sept. 11, at 7:30 p.m., Cinemax

102 Minutes That Changed AmericaIn this documentary, footage from more than 100 sources is woven into a single chronology of the Sept. 11 attacks, presented without narration, comment, or commercial interruptions. Recordings from police, firefighters, and emergency calls as well as more than 500 hours of video have been edited together. Afterward, a supplementary short, I-Witness to 9/11, presents comments from contributors. Tuesday, Sept. 11, at 9 p.m., History Channel

Coco ChanelTop-notch production values distinguish this biodrama about the French designer who revolutionized 20th-century fashion and forged a business empire. Shirley MacLaine is excellent playing Chanel as she attempts to return from retirement in 1954; Barbora Bobulova portrays her in earlier years. With Malcolm McDowell. Saturday, Sept. 13, at 8 p.m., Lifetime

Other highlightsGod’s SoldierA profile of Capt. Charles Popov, a U.S. Army chaplain, during his 2006–07 tour of duty in Iraq. Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 8 p.m., Military Channel

Saturday Night LiveFresh from winning eight Olympic gold medals in Beijing, swimmer Michael Phelps hosts the 34th season premiere. Saturday, Sept. 13, at 11:30 p.m., NBC

Secrets of the Dinosaur MummyA high-definition study of a 77-million-year-old dinosaur mummy found in Montana, with much of its skin and its last meal intact. Sunday, Sept. 14, at 9 p.m., Discovery

Show of the weekObjects and MemoryIn this elegiac documentary, recollections of the Sept. 11 attacks are the starting point for a rumination on why prosaic objects assume the significance of artifacts. Moving accounts by 9/11 survivors and family members of those who lost their lives—as well as visits to the site of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial—reflect poig­nantly on the power conveyed by objects that survived those traumatic events. Items such as a fireman’s shattered helmet are “emissaries from the past,” observes Sarah Henry of the Museum of the City of New York. Monday, Sept. 8, at 10 p.m., PBS; check local listings

Movies on TV this weekMonday, Sept. 8Brothers (2004)In this award-winning drama from Denmark, two brothers’ Cain-and-Abel relationship is turned upside down after one goes to war in Afghanistan. 9 p.m., IFC

TuesdayTopkapi (1964)A classic caper film about a plot to steal a fabulous bejeweled dagger from the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul. With Melina Mercouri and Peter Ustinov. Midnight, TCM

WednesdayRain Man (1988)Dustin Hoffman won a Best Actor Oscar as an autistic savant who changes the life of his self-centered brother (Tom Cruise). The film also won for Best Picture. 4:20 p.m., Encore ThursdayDust to Dust: The Health Effects of 9/11 (2006)A troubling report on the air contaminants generated by the destruction of the World Trade Center towers, and their effect on first responders to the disaster. 7 p.m., IFC

FridayBigger Than Life (1956)Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without a Cause) directed this drama about a gentle schoolteacher (James Mason) driven to rage by an experimental medicine. Noon, FMC

SaturdayMichael Clayton (2007)Seven Oscar nominations, including Best Picture and Actor, went to this thriller about a corporate lawyer (George Clooney) in a crisis of conscience. Tilda Swinton won Best Supporting Actress. 8 p.m., HBO

SundayRendition (2007)A CIA analyst in the Middle East is troubled after he witnesses the torture of a suspected terrorist. Jake Gyllenhaal, Meryl Streep, and Reese Witherspoon star in the topical thriller. 8 p.m., Cinemax

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