THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY (DOCUMENTARY SERIES PARTS 1 – 3)


2011

Director: Mark Cousins

A 15 part documentary series (More 4 (UK)

Parts, 1, 2 & 3

Follow link for review of parts 4 -9

The Story Of Film. How tantalising this series sounded to me when I first heard about it. Mark Cousins is  something of a poet, as much as a cultural commentator or film reviewer. He is also a film-maker and documentation and this series certainly plays to his talents.

I must admit, the first ten minutes of this series, which charts film from it’s very inception and has so far taken us up to the dawn of sound in the late 20’s,  early 1930’s, it was a hard to see how I could watch this for fifteen weeks. Cousins spun his poem of film like an elegant web, but as elegant as it was, it seemed be pretentious and more high brow that it needed to be.

But after a while, I realised that in fact he was expressing not only his own passion but mine and that of all film fans everywhere. But this is not to be mistaken for a completely dry and impartial look at the subject, as it is a very personal take. He clearly has views, and quite rightly so, that film in a global enterprise, where the exposure has been somewhat smothered by the omnipresent creation that is Hollywood.

And his point seems to be to show us that there is much more out there than just Casablanca and Gone With The Wind. Fair enough, I am all eyes and ears but I was concerned at first that Hollywood was going to be pushed aside in favour of other countries creations, which should be given the same attention. But as the series has progressed, he seems to be taking a fair road so, so far at least, this is proving to be an insightful study of the industry and the art of which sustains it.

In short, this isn’t for everyone and even film fans will no doubt grow weary of his dulcet and pretentious tones, sooner rather than later, but if you get past that, you do get an interesting look at the movie industry.

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