Mark Cousins is no stranger to the history of cinema since he’s a producer. And in The Story of Film, A New Generation, what he presents is not only meditative but also entrancing. He updates viewers about movies that were released after his seminal series from 2011.
Although he contrasts modern storytelling with older motion pictures, what he contemplates is in how the narrative has and has not changed over the years. It’s hard to be innovative these days, and what Cousins reveals restores my hope in what filmmakers can do. This Irish filmmaker (and historian) knows his stuff, and the fact he’s very well versed in independent and international cinema shows he’s the right person to host. To follow it all is tough, and my hat is off to him. He manages to track down films even I haven’t heard of, and although my focus is with Asian cinema, he goes further and considers even more harder to find works.
But in terms of popular culture, not only does he talk about Frozen, Joker, but also Midsommner. Finding a list of the works he referenced is easy with the Internet, but to find a copy to watch is harder. We need specialty streaming services or a local video rental shop like Pic-a-flic in my hometown that carries obscure films. Not every work has to be made in the USA. Some come from other territories like Romania or Argentina.
The six-part CNN Original docu-series The Moviesexplores the movies that specifically came out of Hollywood. Although this focus drifts in later parts, each 90 minute segment (sans commercials) explores the influential films from each decade and there’s a lot! This work was released in 2019 to select markets and is making its Canadian debut on the Hollywood Suite Network next week.
Starting with the 70s (Instead of the Golden Age) as its first episode, we learn why going to the movies is important. The world has been enjoying cinema since the late 1890s with the silent film era–a time I thought was strangely not explored. Some info is offered when the film medium took off circa 1913. However, by the start of the talkies, those previous works aren’t always remembered. To explore the films from 1914 to 1969 is a vast range, and this series doesn’t explain why it’s all lumped together. The half-hour introduction explains why the people of the Depression era flocked to theatres. They wanted their daily news and escapism. Not immediately revealed was how World War II would influence the shorts offered; a lot of that material was propaganda.
Cinecenta University of Victoria Nov 24 7:00 & 9:15pm with Q&A afterwards with the filmmakers
The life and times of Eadweard Muybridge, the Godfather of Cinema is explored in this semi-biographical film. Highlights of this photographer’s experiments with studying motion at the turn of the century is the focus and through this lens, viewers see how committed he is to this art when it hasn’t been given the label by the community of critics from this era.
Muybridge (Michael Eklund) is best known for his 1868 work in capturing the beauty of Yosemite Valley. In contrast, the events that led to the court drama around his justifiable homicide of his wife’s lover perhaps made him world-famous. This case is still studied today. She’s 21 years younger than he, and at that time, not many people batted an eye at their age difference. The movie delicately balances between the events that leads to the fall of their romance. Eklund deserves major credit for conveying the gravitas that’s needed to make this character larger than life and appear emotionally burdened.
The report by Variety and author Paul Harris certainly brings tears to my eyes as I love classic films, especially the early films by Walt Disney and Georges Méliès. As I grew to love the products from the era, I found a deep appreciation for the films out of Germany, namely The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari and Metropolis. While some of the best products from what I love from this era have survived to be appreciated by audiences today, there is a whole lot more that, from the sound of this article, is gone for good. I have to wonder what early animation experiments were made back then that is perhaps gone.
The news that not many silent films in their original film stock have survived to this day is not altogether surprising, but the fact that many products from other artists during this time exist anymore is all the more sad. In what this article suggests, hopefully the proposal to repatriation any film deemed “lost” can be found buried at some foreign film archive in Russia or wherever they may be located.
Every cloud has a silver lining, and hopefully, in this case, it means more than just the chemical used to make the film stock. I am hoping it means a concentrated effort in creating a call to arms to search the world’s film vaults for lost treasures (in whatever film format that they are kept in) so that it can get projected to a silver screen just one more time … or by some process to digitize the movie for preservation.