Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Story of Film: An Odyssey (2011)

Director: Mark Cousins

Writer: Mark Cousins

Starring: Mark Cousins, Juan Diego Botto

More info:  IMDb

Tagline: Made over six years, on four continents, covering 11 decades and a thousand films.

Plot: A comprehensive history of the medium and art of motion pictures.

My rating: 8/10

Will I watch it again?  Yes.

This 15-hour documentary on the history of film is staggering in its comprehension alone.  It's told from a lover of quality art film so most people will find it pretentious as I did at times.  The sheer amount of films discussed will have movie fans struggling to keep up writing the titles down to watch later.  I gave up minutes into the first episode and gave myself to the program.  It was a wonderful ride but there is one hangup - the narration (by Cousins, I think).  He has a manner of speaking that leaves most sentences leaning upward as if it were a question.  It's annoying and it took at least the first couple of hours before I was used to it and grew to like it.  I guess you could say I had no choice for if I wanted to continue the next 13 hours I'd have to accept it.  There are times where he's pretentious on his own merit, strange question speak not withstanding.  And there was one point where he came off as a complete asshole when he bluntly said that anyone who doesn't like this film (I forget which picture he was talking about) is wrong (both critics and laypeople).  I'm sorry, but any medium is subjective.  Something might generally accepted as beautiful, brilliant or well made but not everyone is going to see it that way.  That angered me even if I felt he could be right.  It's a lot to absorb and it's easy to feel small (I've probably seen over 10,000 movies in my lifetime and I consider myself to be pretty knowledgeable and I felt inadequately prepared for this, discovering more movies that I didn't even know about), but get over it quickly and get through this.  For me, it's hearing others discuss movies.  At the very least, this is worth watching for the extraordinary amount of beautiful imagery that is burned on film forever (hopefully).

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