Currently in a four-disc set from photographer/writer/director Mark Cousins and Music Box Films comes the most astounding look at the history of film, who is a part of that history and how filmmaking has changed the world with THE COMPLETE STORY OF FILM.
Narrated by Cousins, the viewer is taken back into time and place to discover the hidden secrets of filmmaking. What is in this review is a tiny fraction of what these discs invite the viewer to know and experience.
The first disc includes Chapter One – 1895-1918: The World Discovers a New Art Form, Chapter 2 – 1918: The Triumph of American Film and the First of its Rebels, Chapter Three – 1918: The Great Rebel Filmmakers Around the World, Chapter Four – 1930s: The Great American Movie Genres and the Brilliance of European Film, and Chapter Five – 1939-1952: The Devastation of War and a New Movie Language.
Thomas Edison “a dark room where light matters” and W.K.L. Dickson begin to think about how to make pictures and take them into world of movement but it only allowed one person at a time to look at what was created inside a box. Louie & August Lumier create a projector and films and in December 1895, the Lumier brothers bring ARRIVAL OF A TRAIN AT LA CIOTAT (1896).
From George Melles A TRIP TO THE MOON with special effects, to the first female director in Alice Le Blanche, to Albert Smith and Ehoch J. Rector with his 63 mm wide-screen, cinema begins to expand as the imagination of what could be heightens. Edwin Stanton Porter creates editing as Buster Keaton explores using double exposure, Charles Pathe creates parallel editing and Charles La Bargy creates reverse angle shots as films can no longer be contained in a box.
Movie stars come into focus with Florence Lawrence in the 1909 film THOSE AWFUL HATS becomes the most recognizable woman and is instantly famous. She is followed by Gloria Swanson in STAGE STRUCK in 1925. Scandinavia brings their own brand of film famous in 1910 with Benjamin Christensen’s THE MYSTERIOUS X and the masterful film HAXAN. Viktor Sjostrom brings INGEBORG HOLM and years later THE PHANTOM CARRIAGE.
Studios are now being built and the 1906 film THE STORY OF THE KELLY GANG brings Charles Tait as director and Cecil B. DeMille films THE SQUAW MAN, Alice Guy’s 1912 film FALLING LEAVES, Louis Weber’s film SUSPENSE in 1913. D.W. Griffith had a range of films from THE HOUSE WITH CLOSED SHUTTERS in 1910, WAY DOWN EAST in 1921, ORPHANS OF THE STORM in 1921, the classic 1915 BIRTH OF A NATION and the three and a half hour 1916 film INTOLERANCE. Japan contribution is the 1921 SOULS ON THE ROAD from director Minora Murata. In twenty years, films have now exploded from nickelodeons to film houses.
Investment money comes in from east coast bankers as Paramount, MGM, Warner Bros. Studios are built and sound stages grow as Hollywood becomes a production line cranking out film after film. Costuming, makeup, engineers, dollies, new cameras and the list goes on as to what is needed. Films begin to have themes of love, action and adventure as well as the most popular thing today – comedy.
Buster Keaton, Charlie Chaplin and Harold Lloyd would pave that road, and even become directors in order to get what they wanted on film. Keaton directs THE CAMERAMAN, ONE WEEK, SHERLOCK JR., THREE AGES, and THE GENERAL. Chaplain would direct LIMELIGHT, CITY LIGHTS, the iconic THE KID and, my personal favorite the 1941 THE GREAT DICTATOR. Harold Lloyd put himself in such adoring films as LUKE’S MOVIE MUDDLE, NEVER WEAKEN and SAFTEY LAST.
Documentaries begin with the film NANOCK OF THE NORTH from director Robert J. Flaherty. Director Erich von Stroheim’s 1919 film BLIND HUSBANDS and 1924 film GREED. King Vldor film THE CROWD has seven endings. Emotionalism comes to film with director Carl Theoder Deyer’s 1928 film THE PASSION OF JOAN OF ARC or his 1919 film THE PRESIDENT.
In disc-two, the director explores the years through Chapter 6: 1953-1957: The Swollen Story: World Cinema Bursting at the Seams, Chapter 7: 1957-1964: The Shock of the New: Modern Filmmaking in Western Europe, Chapter 8: 1965-1969: The New Waves Sweep Around the World, Chapter 9: 1967-1979: New American Cinema, and Chapter 10: 1969-1979: Radical Directors in the 70s Make State of the Nation Movies.
Melodrama brings the 1950’s in with wide-screen and color as James Dean show emotions that are out of control. Egypt starts as director Youssef Chahine brings the 1958 film CAIRO STATION. India also understands the feeling of Chahine, director Guru Dutt brings the 1959 great Indian film PAPER FLOWERS. Realism with 1936’s SANT TUKARAM directed by Vishnupant Govind Damle. In Calcutta, director Satyajit Ray brings the 1955 film PANTHER PANCHALI and changes the view of Indian film forever.
China also brings its culture to cinema. TWO STAGE SISTER directed by Xie Jin, along with director Akira Kurosawa films IKIRU, STRAY DOGS, SEVEN SAMURAI and THRONE OF BLOOD. In Latin America, there films are on the rise. The 1955 Brazilian film RIO 40 DEGREES from director Nelson Pereira dos Santos returns to the screen with his neo-realism. In Mexico, the film DONA BARBARA, LA PERLA and LOS OLVIDADOS.
America is idealized in filmmaking, the 1955 film ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS from director Douglas Sirk is a prime example. David Helpern brings the 1975 film I’M A STRANGER HERE MYSELF as well as directors Nicholas Ray’s, Kenneth Anger, Delbert Mann’s, Elia Kazan’s film ON THE WATERFRONT in 1954. The 1948 RED RIVER film shows that methods between John Wayne and the sensitive man Montgomery Clift as directed by Howard Hawkins.
That ideal is shown with James Dean in the 1955 Nicholas Ray directed REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE. Orson Wells, Alfred Hitchcock, Howard Hawks, and John Ford are making masterpieces. Wells directs the 1958 TOUCH OF EVIL, Ford directs the 1956 film THE SEARCHERS, Hitchcock brings the 1958 film VERTIGO and the Hawks directed 1959 film RIO BRAVO.
British films keep their feelings under cover, so to speak, led by director David Lean with the 1946 classic GREAT EXPECTATIONS and LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. The 1953 film O DREAMLAND from director Lindsay Anderson. France gives the world Brigit Bardot in the 1956 film …AND GOD CREATED WOMAN directed by Roger Vadim as well as directors Ingmar Bergman, Robert Bresson, Jacques Tati and Federico Fellini.
Bresson saw life as a prison and he made four films with that philosophy. PICKPOCKET is his 1959 film and 1966’s AU HASARD BALTHAZAR. Jacques Tati brings MR. HULOT’S HOLIDAY and MON ONCLE. Fellini’s film derives from the circus directing FELLINI’S CASANOVA, THE NIGHTS OF CABIRIA, and 8½ in 1963. The French new wave directors have arrived, Agnes Varda begins the waters in the 1962 film CLEO FROM 5 TO 7, Alain Resnais, Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard and his 1960 film A BOUT DE SOUFFLE with close ups and UNE FEMME MARIEE in 1964.
Italy brought new excitement to their cinema, Pier Paolo Pasolini brings his 1961 film ACCATTONE and THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO ST. MATTHEW (1964). Sergio Leone took another direction as in the 1964 western A FIST FULL OF DOLLARS using the Italian created Techni-scope and written with Bertolucci, their film ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST in 1968 becomes epic. Luchino Visconti brings the 1954 film SENSO and the 1954 film ROCCO AND HIS BROTHERS. Michelangelo Antonioni sees the world a bit more abstractly as in his 1954 film L’ECLISSE or the 1975 film THE PASSENGER. In Spain, Marco Ferreri is pushing the limits with the 1960 film THE WHEELCHAIR.
Director Pedro Almodovar, in 1984, also pushes dysfunction with WHAT HAVE I DONE TO DESERVE THIS? In 1961, director Luis Bunuel’s film VIRIDIANA also pushes mockery. In Sweden, director Vilgot Sjoman and his 1967 film I AM CURIOUS (YELLOW) uses politics as fantasy.
New wave gets a gut punch beginning with the 1973 film LA MAMAN ET LA PUTAIN directed by Jean Estache. In Poland, director Andrej Wajda’s 1958 ASHES AND DIAMONDS and TWO MEN AND A WARDROBE directed by Roman Polanski along with the 1962 film KNIFE IN THE WATER and THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS.
In Czechoslovakia, animation and puppetry could be seen in the 1966 film THE HAND directed by Jiri Trnka. Milos Forman in 1967 creates THE FIREMAN’S BALL, Vera Chytilova film DAISIES, and Hungary’s director Milos Jancso creates his 1968 film THE RED AND THE WHITE. The Soviet Union, filmmakers push to create films with Chris Marker in 2000 with UNE JOURNEE D’ANDREI ARSENEVITCH or ANDREI RUBLEV, Andrei Tarkovsky’s film THE MIRROR or STALKER and NOSTALGHIA show his ability with the long shot, to tell the story.
Sergei Parajanov created the 1965 film SHADOWS OF OUR FORGOTTEN ANCESTORS gives angles from up and down using foreground widely. Japan in the 60’s had an angry tone, director Nagisa Oshima brought the 1969 film BOY, IN THE REALM OF SENSES, director Shohei Imamura’s film THE INSECT WOMAN and the 1970’s NIPPON SENGOSHI – MADAMU ONBORO NO SEIKATSU.
India of the 1960s include Ritwik Ghatak 1958 film AJANTRIK, 1960 THE CLOUD-CAPPED STAR, and 1975 with JUKTI, TAKKO AAR GAPPO. Director Mani Kaul brings landscape to the 1970 film USKI ROTI. Brazil offering was Glauber Rocha’s 1964 film BLACK GOD, WHITE DEVIL. Cuba’s cinema produces director Mikhail Kalatozov’s 1964 I AM CUBA.
In Iran, director Forugh Farrokhzad’s 1963 film THE HOUSE IS BLACK is about a leper colony as she films in black and white. Senegal brings the film BLACK GIRL directed by Ousamane Sembene. England brought films in the 60s such as Karel Reisz 1960s film SATURDAY NIGHT AND SUNDAY MORNING, director Ken Loach and the film KES and Richard Lester film A HARD DAY’S NIGHT.
Ending in America radical voices are coming through film. Director Robert Drew’s 1960 documentary PRIMARY, John Cassavetes’s film SHADOWS does the same, and Alfred Hitchcock classic PSYCHO. Directors Jorgen Leth brings 66 SCENES FROM AMERICA, Mike Nichols WHO’S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOLF?, Haskell Wexler’s MEDIUM COOL, director Dennis Hopper with EASY RIDER, and Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 iconic 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY.
Now, the 70s satire comes to film with Buck Henry who wrote the script for THE GRADUATE in 1967 and the 1970 film CATCH 22 both directed by Mike Nichols and director Robert Altman’s MASH came out the same year and. Director Milos Forman comes to America to make the 1975 stunning film ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO’S NEST.
Referring to these directors as “dissident filmmakers”, the honors go to Dennis Hopper with THE LAST MOVIE, Altman’s McCABE AND MRS. MILLER, Francis Ford Coppola brings THE CONVERSATION and Martin Scorsese’s MEAN STREETS and the breathtaking 1976 film TAXI DRIVER and RAGING BULL again with Robert DeNiro. Paul Schrader arrives in 1980 with AMERICAN GIGOLO and 1992’s LIGHT SLEEPER.
Charles Burnett made KILLER OF SHEEP in 1977, director Woody Allen brings ANNIE HALL and MANHATTAN the same year. Peter Bogdanovich with the film THE LAST PICTURE SHOW, Sam Peckinpah’s THE WILD BUNCH and 1973’s PAT GARRETT AND BILLY THE KID. Also, Terrence Malick’s BADLANDS and DAYS OF HEAVEN. Director Bob Fosse directs the 1972’s CABARET, Francis Ford Coppola’s THE GODFATHER and director Roman Polanski’s CHINATOWN.
The 70s also rings in the radical directors as the world of cinema begins to ask questions. Rainer Werner Fassbinder shows FOX AND HIS FRIENDS, THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VON KANT and in 1974’s FEAR EATS THE SOUL. Wim Wenders brings ALICE IN THE CITIES. Women decided they wanted to tell their point of view as director Margarethe von Trotta is show in 1978’s THE SECOND AWAKENING OF CHRISTA KLAGES.
Italy is also dealing with a war past look for identity as director Pier Paolo Pasolini brings ARABIAN NIGHTS, Bernardo Bertolucci is next with THE SPIDER’S STRATAGEM and THE CONFORMIST in 1970. In British films, Ken Russell directs WOMEN IN LOVE and Nicolas Roeg directing PERFORMANCE. Roeg also shows his 1971 Australian film WALKABOUT, Peter Weir’s film PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK and Gillian Armstrong’s MY BRILLIANT CAREER.
Japan films tried to reshape the country as director Noriaki Tsuchimoto brings the 1971 documentary MINAMATA, THE VICTIMS AND THEIR WORLD and Kazuo Hara’s film THE EMPEROR’S NAKED ARMY MARCHES ON. In Africa, Assia Djebar directs LA NOUBA DES FEMMES DU MONT CHENOUA and LA NOUBA. Ousmane Sembe’s XALA remove colonialism, Djibril Dio Mambety brings two films with the 1970 film BADOU BOY and HYENAS, and female director Safi Faye’s PEASANT LETTER and KADDU BEYKAT, and Haile Gerima’s 1976 film HARVEST: 3,000 YEARS.
Kurdish filmmaker Yilmaz Guney makes the 1970 film HOPE followed by the film YOL. In Chile, directors Patricio Guzman film THE BATTLE OF CHILE and Alejandro Jodorowsky’s THE HOLY MOUNTAIN hit theatres.
Innovation and pop-culture comes in the 70’s and it is world-wide. Hong Kong’s Sir Run Run Shaw brought its own studios where their own films were made. Director King Hu filmed A TOUCH OF ZEN and Robert Clouse 1975 hit ENTER THE DRAGON. Also, 1986s A BETTER TOMORROW directed by John Woo and Woo-ping Yuen’s film THE IRON MONKEY. Tsui Hark having directed 44 films shows his work in the 1991 film ONCE UPON A TIME IN CHINA and DRAGON’S INN.
India grew and created epics larger than anything Hollywood could do. Director Gulzar brings the beauty to the film MAUSAM, Prakash Mehra’s ZANJEER and Ramesh Sippy’s 1975 SHOLAY. Arab filmmakers take on THE MESSAGE from director Moustapha Akkad in 1976 and Youssef Chahine releases the 1972 THE SPARROW.
In America, the era of the block-buster had arrived. Beginning with director William Friedkin’s 1973 horror THE EXORCIST, Steven Spielberg’s 1975 JAWS, CLOSE ENCOUNTER OF THE THIRD KIND and the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK. Then the smash from a galaxy far, far away – George Lucas lands with the 1997 film STAR WARS.
In disc-three, Chapter 11: The 1970s and Onwards: Innovation in Popular Culture Around the World, Chapter 12: The 1980s: Moviemaking and Protest Around the World, Chapter 13: 1990-1998: The Last Days of Celluloid, Before the Coming of Digital, Chapter 14: The 1990s: The First Days of Digital: Reality Losing its Realness in American and Australia, and Chapter 15: 2000 Onwards: Film Moves Full Circle and the Future of Movies.
This section speaks about truth to power beginning with China and a rebirth of film. Tian Zhuangzhuang came alive directing his 1988 film THE HORSE THIEF and Chen Kaige’s film YELLOW EARTH. Two of my favorite films of all time come from director Zhang Yimou and the 1991 film RAISE THE RED LANTERN and 2004’s HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS.
The Soviet Union told stories about things that were not to be talked about. Director Tengiz Abuladze’s 1984 film REPENTANCE, Elem Klimov’s 1985 film COME AND SEE and director Kira Muratova’s 1971 LONG GOODBYES. Polish director Krysztof Kieslowlski brings the 1988 story A SHORT FILM ABOUT KILLING. African films move toward a different storytelling like director Gaston Kabore 1982’s film WEND KUNNI and YEELEN from director Souleymane Cisse.
In the United States, on the big screen FLASHDANCE in 1983 from director Adrian Lyne, Tony Scott’s skyward offering of TOP GUN, David Lynch gives two films THE ELEPHANT MAN and BLUE VELVET in 1986. Spike Lee also emerges with DO THE RIGHT THING.
France shines again starting with Luc Besson’s 1985 film SUBWAY and Leos Carax film LES AMANTS DU PONT NEUF. The 1982 Pedro Almodovar film LABYRINTH OF PASSIONS, Victor Erice’s THE QUINCE TREE SUN in 1992. In Britain, Stephen Frears offers the 1985 film MY BEAUTIFUL LAUNDRETTE, Bill Douglas’s film MY CHILDHOOD, GREGORY’S GIRL from Bill Forsyth, and Terrence Davies 1988 film DISTANT VOICES, STILL LIVES.
Also, Peter Greenaway with A ZED AND TWO NOUGHTS in 1986 and Derek Jarman brings THE LAST OF ENGLAND. Director David Cronenberg shows his starkness with the 1983’s VIDEODROME, CRASH and Denys Arcand’s 1989 JESUS OF MONTREAL.
Before digital and the internet, directors are celebrated for the celluloid and the coming of an end of an era. In Iran, director Samira Makhmalbaf starts with the film THE APPLE, Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s A MOMENT OF INNOCENCE and Abbas Kiarostami’s three films WHERE IS THE FRIEND’S HOUSE?, LIFE GOES ON and THROUGH THE OLIVE TREES in 1994.
Hong Kong, still in the action movie stance, takes a turn into filming real life with Wong Kar Wai’s 1970 film DAYS OF BEING WILD and IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE. From Taiwan is director Hou Hsiao-hsien’s film CITY OF SADNESS and VIVE L’AMOUR in 1994 from Tsai Ming-liang. Japan wants to scare as director Shinya Tsukamoto shows TETSUO and TATSUO II: Body Hammer in 1992. It would be Hideo Nakata, in 1998, that would show fright with RINGU and Takashi Miike’s AUDITION.
Coopenhagen gets back to human nature as director Lars Von Trier starts with the 1996 film BREAKING THE WAVES and DOGVILLE. France shares director Mathieu Kassovitz’s 1995 film LA HAINE, Bruno Dumont’s film L’HUMANITE and in the same year directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne offer up the 1999 film ROSETTA. Claire Denis puts her work in the 1999 film BEAU TRAVAIL. Poland has director Dorota Kedzierzawska’s film CROWS, Viktor Kossakovsky’s WEDNESDAY, Michael Haneke’s FUNNY GAMES and CODE UNKNOWN.
America and Australia now come into view. Ridley Scott creates epic digital scenes like from his 2000 film GLADIATOR or James Cameron’s film TERMINATOR, TERMINATOR 2: Judgement Day and TITANIC. CGI and animation are now taking control. Steven Spielberg proved the work with his 1993’s JURASSIC PARK. John Lassiter brought CGI to life with the 1995 wonderful TOY STORY. The inexpensive 1999 Daniel Myrick, Eduardo Sanchez fright THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT exploded at the box office.
Director Yimou Zhang’s 2004 film HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS shows the epic-ness of CGI as well. Martin Scorsese keeps it real with GOODFELLAS, Quentin Tarantino offers up the RESERVOIR DOGS and PULP FICTION. Oliver Stone’s 1994 NATURAL BORN KILLERS uses color and video for its post modernism. Joe and Ethan Cohn rule the 90’s starting with MILLER’S CROSSING, THE BIG LEBOWSKI, THE HUDSUCKER PROXY and 2000’s O BROTHER, WHERE ART THOU?
Gus Van Sant brought MY OWN PRIVATE IDAHO, PSYCHO, ELEPHANT, GERRY, and 2005’s LAST DAYS. Paul Verhoeven’s ROBOCOP and the guilty pleasure STARSHIP TROOPERS. Jane Campion lights up with AN ANGEL AT MY TABLE and THE PIANO in 1993. Director Baz Luhrmann brings largeness to the screen with ROMEO + JULIET and the even larger is the 2001 MOULIN ROUGE.
Now, the 21st century makes its grand entrance into cinema with a returning clash. Documentaries rose as the twin towers fell and director Michael Moor’s film FARHENHEIT 9/11 and action at the box office with Paul Greengrass THE BOURNE SUPREMACY. Director Nicolas Philibert’s ETRE ET AVOIR in 2002 and ZIDANE – A PORTRAIT IN THE 21ST CENTURY in 2006.
Andrew Dominik’s 2007 film THE ASSASSINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD came to the screen with sweeping photography. Nuri Bilge Ceylan offers up CLIMATES from Turkey, Romania from Christi Puiu with THE DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU and Argentina with Lucrecia Martel’s THE HEADLESS WOMAN. From Mexico, director Carol Reygadas’s releases BATTLE IN HEAVEN in 2005.
Korea changes up its features with director Lee Chang-Dong’s 2002 OASIS, Bong Joon-Ho’s 2003 MEMORIES OF MURDER and the iconic Park Chan-Wook’s 2003 OLDBOY. Yet the U.S. isn’t done with their stunning work as David Lynch portrays the Hollywood life in the film MULHOLLAND DR. Darren Aronofsky invites us into REQUIEM FOR A DREAM. Roy Anderson, from Stockholm blurs the story lines with 2000’s SONGS FROM THE SECOND FLOOR or Roger Avary’s RULES OF ATTRACTION and James Cameron film AVATAR.
Thailand tries something different with director Apichatpong Weeresethakul’s TROPICAL MALADY as does Alexander Sokurov with the 1997 film MOTHER AND SON and RUSSIAN ARK. Innovation like Michel Gondry’s ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND or perhaps Christopher Nolan’s 2010 INCEPTION capture movie goers.
The fourth disc has a fascinating look with A New Generation: Part One – Extending the Language of Film and Part Two – What Have we Been Digging For?
Finally, in this disc set comes the passion and innovation of the stories that come to film with a new generation. Starting with director Todd Phillips 2019 JOKER and the animation of directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck in the smash 2013 FROZEN. The dream state can be found in the 2015 Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s film CEMETARY OF SPLENDOUR. Now the story talks about the language of film.
Jordan Peele breaks out in the 2019 film US, Olivia Wilde’s 2019 BOOKSMART, the Hindi 2014 film PK, and 2016 Tim Miller’s DEADPOOL, director Nabwana I.G.G’s 2014 CRAZY WORLD take us from horror to comedy. Bruno Dumont brings French comedy to light in the 2014 film P’TIT QUINQUIN.
Action films come into play starting with the five-hour long Anurag Kashyap 2012 film GANGS OF WASSEYPUR, Jonnie To with VENGEANCE, Argentina’s ZAMA directed by Lucrecia Martl, directors Benny and Josh Safdie show GOOD TIME and George Miller’s futuristic world in MAD MAX: Fury Road in 2015. Edgar Wright delivers the hit BABY DRIVER using music into its story, Melina Matsoukas’s BEYONCE: Lemonade and Steve McQueen’s SMALL AXE: Lovers Rock in 2020 use it as well. In Bollywood, dance reigns supreme – Sanjay Leela Bhansali’s 2018 RAM-LEELA.
Bodies have always been a means for the eyes and some make a subtle point as with 2019’s Lorene Scafaria’s HUSTLERS and Barry Jenkins film MOONLIGHT. Hou Hsiao-Hsien’s 2005 THREE TIMES, Joao Pedro Rodrigues’s THE ORNOTHOLOGIST, Lucia Puenzo’s XXY, Alfonso Curon’s 2013 GRAVITY, Lucile Hadzihalilovic’s EVOLUTION, Rungano Nyoni’s I AM NOT A WITCH, Claire Denis’s 2018 HIGH LIFE and Jeremy Clapin’s 2019 film I LOST MY BODY also bring body and cinema together.
Horror in cinema rapidly comes back with an intensity as in Lucia Guadagnino’s film SUSPIRIA, Australia’s Jennifer Kent’s THE BABADOOK, IT FOLLOWS from David Robert Mitchell the same year, and Astonia’s film NOVEMBER from director Rainer Sarnet, and Ari Aster’s MIDSOMMAR brought a new level of what is expected of a horror film.
Changing gears into slow cinema with the 2006 Pedro Costa film COLOSSAL YOUTH, Kely Reichardt’s CERTAIN WOMEN, Lav Diaz’s 2013 NORTE, THE END OF HISTORY, and 2018’s AN ELEPHANT SITTING STILL directed by Hu Bo. Documentaries come into play again as well starting with Hanna Polak’s SOMETHING BETTER TO COME, Waad Al-Kateab and Edward Watts’ 2019 FOR SAMA, Patricio Guzman’s THE PEARL BUTTON and Anand Patwardhan’s REASON. Greece brings ATTENBERG from director Athina Rachel Tsangari and Aleksei German’s three-hour long 2013 film HARD TO BE GOD.
Asking the question ‘what have we been digging for?’ comes into focus starting with director Leos Carax HOLY MOTORS, 2013’s UNDER THE SKIN from director Jonathan Glazer, director Joanna Hogg’s THE SOUVENIR, Amin Sidi-Boumediene’s 2019 film ABOUT LEILA, Abbas Kiarostami’s film TEN and Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel brings LEVIATHAN in 2012.
Cell phones come into play as well as new inventive techniques shown in the 2017 Michael Haneke film HAPPY END, Sean Baker’s film TANGERINE, Jean-Luc Godard’s GOODBYE TO LANGUAGE, Laurie Anderson’s HEART OF A DOG in 2015, BLACK MIRROR: Bandersnatch from director David Slade in 2018, Tsai Ming Liang’s STRAY DOGS, I DON’T WANT TO SLEEP ALONE and 2017’s THE DESERTED done in VR.
Documentary filmmaker Kirsten Johnson films the CAMERAPERSON, THE LOOK OF SILENCE from Joshua Oppenheimer in 2014 or with Christine Cynn in THE ACT OF KILLING and in the same year Slavo Martinov shows PROPAGANDA. Performance capture comes alive with Matt Reeves’ WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES, 2019’s THE IRISHMAN from Martin Scorsese and DAU DEGENERATION from Ilya Khrzhanovskiy. Using no technology, Lenny Abrahamson introduces us to the 2014 film FRANK and Laszlo Nemes 2015 SON OF SAUL.
Now cinema reveals who we are starting with the 2018 Radu Jude film I DON’T CARE IF WE GO DOWN IN HISTORY AS BARBARIANS, Jordan Peele’s US and Korean director Bong Joon-Ho’s PARASITE, Ala Eddine Slim TLAMESS, and Mati Diop comes in the same year with ATLANTICS. In animation, the 2014 SONG OF THE SEA by Tomm Moore is flowing and transformative. BLACK PANTHER brought Wakanda from Ryan Coogler and in the same year BORDER from Ali Abbasi bring ‘paradise lost’. THE FARWELL by Lulu Wang brings family together, and QUO VADIS, AIDA? from Jasmina Spanic in 2020 (one of my favorites that year).
From Asia, director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s SHOPLIFTERS, from Russia is Evgenia Ostanina and Zosya Rodkevich’s WHITE MAMA, Debra Branik’s LEAVE NO TRACE and Alice Rohrwacher’s HAPPY AS LAZZARO all come in the same year. Rounding out years 2017 -2019 there is A FANTASTIC WOMAN from director Sebastian Lelio, 13th from Ava Duvernay, SHOP OF THESEUS from Anand Gandhi, PORTRAIT OF A LADY ON FIRE from Celine Sciamma and COLD WAR from Pawel Pawlikowski.
Incoming to theatres are more points of view and what cinema is offering us is a frame by frame look at ourselves and we love every moment of it.
Music Box Films is the prestigious North American distributor of acclaimed international, independent, and documentary feature films. Recent releases include Eric Gravel’s Cesar nominated thrilling social drama FULL TIME and Rebecca Zlotowski’s OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN. Music Box Films also owns and operates Music Box Theatre, Chicago’s premier venue for independent and foreign films. For more of what they have to offer please go to www.musicboxfilms.com
If you are a filmmaker, a film lover, a student of film, a person who studies film for pleasure – then this is a must have, absolutely. It is challenging, thought provoking, informative, enlightening and goes in directions that are stellar and interesting. Being captivated is sometimes a hard thing to do, but A STORY OF FILM does it second by second.
I have always loved film, from my first viewing of BAMBI to the recent film THE CREATOR, I have witnessed the inventive of storytelling and embraced the good, bad and ugly of it all. Creator Mark Cousins has now become the voice in my head regarding film and a new point of view. There have been a few teachers in my life that have stood out and have followed along my life, Cousins is now added to that list as the newest teacher who taught an old dog new tricks in a sense.
To experience it all in five discs is breathtaking and equally exhausting, but the kind of exhausting that comes with learning something so fulfilling, that it will take time to recover from and process it all with joy. This is an 18-hour master class that is powerful, thoughtful and worthy of a standing ovation.
Prepare for a stunning master class!