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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.
Few saw it coming, but cinema around the world in the 90s entered a golden age. The story starts in Iran, where we meet Abbas Kiarostami, who rethought movie making and made it more real. Then we meet Shinya Tsukamoto, who laid the ground for the bold new Japanese horror cinema. From Tokyo, the story moves to Paris where one of the world’s greatest directors, Claire Denis, talks about her work. The story ends in Mexico with the blossoming of its new films.
This is the story of the brilliant, flashy, playful movies in the English-speaking world in the 90s. We look at what was new in Tarantino’s dialogue and the edge of the Coen brothers. The writer of Starship Troopers and Robocop talks about their irony. In Australia, Baz Luhrmann talks about Romeo + Juliet and Moulin Rouge and we plunge into the digital world to see how it changed the movies forever.
In the final part of The Story of Film: An Odyssey, movies come full circle. They get more serious after 9/11, and Romanian movies come to the fore, followed by David Lynch’s Mulholland Drive becoming one of the most complex dream films ever made and Inception turning film into a game. In Moscow, master director Alexander Sokurov talks about his innovative films. And then there’s a surprise: The Story of Film goes beyond the present, to look at film in the future.