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.
This episode shows how the trauma of war made cinema more daring. The story starts in Italy, and then we go to Hollywood, discover Orson Welles and chart the darkening of American film and the drama of the McCarthy era. Screenwriters Paul Schrader and Robert Towne discuss theses years. The director of Singin’ in the Rain, Stanley Donen, talks exclusively about his career, and we discover that British films like The Third Man best sum up these extraordinary years.
This part explores the story of sex and melodrama in the movies of the 50s. We discover James Dean, On the Waterfront and the glossy weepies of the time, but also travel to Egypt, India, China, Mexico, Britain and Japan to find that movies there were also full of rage and passion. Features exclusive interviews with the people who worked with Satyajit Ray, with legendary actress Kyoko Kagawa--who starred in films by Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu, and the first great African director, Youssef Chahine.