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Brimming with movie lore and more than 1,000 brilliantly juxtaposed clips, this 15-hour distillation of 115 years of cinema could only have been made by a cinephile as voracious as critic Mark Cousins, whose 2004 book of the same name won praise for its global and personal perspective on film history. This idiosyncratic valentine to the quintessential 20th-century art form champions both the glories of classic Hollywood and the lesser-known corners of the film universe, throwing the spotlight on some of Cousins’ favorite unsung auteurs and drawing surprising connections among far-flung film communities. Featuring interviews with a who’s who of contemporary masters (including Abbas Kiarostami, Wim Wenders, and Claire Denis), The Story of Film examines the nuts and bolts of film poetics while also maintaining a deep appreciation for the medium’s abiding mysteries.
Filmed in the very buildings where the first movies were made, the opening of The Story of Film shows that ideas and passion have always driven film, more than money and marketing. We hear the story of the very first movie stars, close-ups and special effects, and then we travel to Hollywood to see how it became a myth. The story is full of surprises, such as the fact that the greatest, and best, paid writers in these early years were women. And then there’s the glamour: the building of the great movie cathedrals.
This is the fascinating story of the movies in the roaring 20s. We see how Hollywood became a glittering entertainment industry and how star directors like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton emerged. But the gloss and fantasy was challenged by movie makers like Robert Flaherty, Eric Von Stroheim and Carl Theodor Dreyer, who wanted films to be more serious and mature. Filmed in Hollywood, Denmark and Moscow, this part looks at the battle over the soul of cinema and some of the greatest movies ever made.