Director: Mark Cousins
A 15 part documentary series (More 4 (UK)
Parts, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 & 9
The Story Of Film began with as many flaws as there was promise, but as the series which promised to redefine our perceptions of what a classic film was, and aimed to demonstrate that Hollywood was far from the centre of the movie universe, has progressed, it has become clear that what should have been an epic look at the history of film, has become and epic self-indulgent failure.
Cousins has done nothing more than express his own interest in film, taking us on a very personal journey through the annals of film and what makes it work for him, but as he discusses depth of field and films from all across the globe, I realise that I simply don’t care! I love film, which is hardly a surprise, and like almost everybody else I have my favourites and my pet hates and obviously, I wouldn’t like everything but I find it strange that as well as spending the past nine weeks watching this, I saw a BBC THREE documentary called Rex Appeal, which spent ONE hour charting Dinosaur and Monster films from the very beginning to the latest blockbusters and from that I was intrigued with the 1954 Japanese film, Godzilla.
I bought it, watched it and LOVED it!. But as Cousin’s pompous journey through film reached the 1950’s there was no mention of this classic at all. In fact, no mention of the genre at all! There was also very little mention of Science Fiction, the Widescreen revolution, Walt Disney, Animation with the exception of obscure adult matter from Czechoslovakia and so forth, nor the Epics, such as Ben~Hur.
2001: A Space Odyssey only got a mention and The Godfather with was treated quite well, thought only received a few minutes of screen time. This is far from a comprehensive look at film and considering that its running time must exceed 16 hours, there’s plenty of time cover all these omissions. But he does find time to cover a director’s attempt to covey some pervert listening to his love interest making to love to someone else in a barn. This was further expressed by having him watch a train roll over the tracks which symbolically bob up and down as the it does so.
This is NOT a film documentary: This is a film buff talking us through what he likes about film and his interpretation of its progression over the past century. The themes are confused and make little narrative sense. It just seems to plod from self-indulgent subject to the next and offers little insight in to any of the subjects or films that it touches upon.
This is very misjudged and having to listen to Mark’s voice droning on as he films boring and uninspired street scenes is becoming almost too much to bear. This is becoming like a film class, and that is the ONLY reason that I continue to pursue what is now becoming a very tedious endeavour. Maybe I’m just stubborn but when all is said and done, the only redeeming feature of this is the films that it showcases. Many of them hold little interest for me as this series has answered once and all, any questions that I had over whether I liked World Cinema or not and the answer for the most part, is a resounding NO. But I at least get to see clips and some titles that I would never have seen otherwise.
For that reason and that reason alone, is why this series has now gone down from 9/10 to a dismal 2/10. Besides that, this should still stand as one of the worst film documentaries EVER made…