The Story of Film: An Odyssey

Watch The Story of Film: An Odyssey

  • Not Rated
  • 2011
  • 1 Season
  • 8.4  (4,755)

The Story of Film: An Odyssey is a bold and ambitious documentary series that takes us on a journey through the history of cinema. Presented by Mark Cousins, an Irish film critic and filmmaker, the series spans six continents and covers over a hundred years of cinema history, from the earliest experiments to the modern day. Each of the fifteen episodes focuses on a different chapter in the evolution of cinema, exploring the ways in which filmmakers have influenced and been influenced by the cultural, social, and political contexts of their times.

From the early pioneers of silent cinema to the masters of the golden age of Hollywood, from the French new wave to the rise of independent cinema, The Story of Film covers a vast and diverse range of films, directors, and movements. Cousins weaves together interviews, film clips, and expert analysis to build a comprehensive and engaging narrative that illuminates the art and craft of filmmaking. The series is divided into distinct chapters, each with a different thematic focus, such as the use of music, the development of special effects, or the representation of race and gender.

One of the strengths of The Story of Film is its international perspective. Cousins travels to all corners of the globe to explore local cinemas and showcase the diversity of world cinema. He discusses the filmmaking traditions of countries such as Japan, India, Iran, and Africa, highlighting the unique approaches to storytelling, cinematography, and sound design that have developed in different cultural contexts. The series champions the idea that cinema is a universal language that can transcend borders and connect people across the world.

The Story of Film also features insightful interviews with prominent filmmakers and actors, including Lars von Trier, Sam Neill, Baz Luhrmann, and Gus Van Sant, who share their thoughts on the art of filmmaking and the directors who have influenced their work. Cousins also highlights lesser-known filmmakers who have made significant contributions to the medium, such as Djibril Diop Mambety and Mani Kaul, whose experimental and politically engaged films challenge the dominant modes of storytelling.

The series is not without its flaws, however. Some critics have accused Cousins of self-indulgence and of neglecting certain aspects of cinema history, such as genre films or blockbusters. Others have criticized his tendency to prioritize his own taste over objective analysis, arguing that his love for certain directors and movements can come across as biased. Additionally, some viewers may find the series overwhelming or dense, given the amount of information and detail presented in each episode.

Despite these criticisms, The Story of Film is an ambitious and enlightening exploration of the art of cinema. Cousins is a passionate and knowledgeable guide, and his enthusiasm for cinema is infectious. The series celebrates the diversity and complexity of cinema, and encourages us to appreciate the power of storytelling and visual expression. It is a must-watch for anyone interested in cinema history, film theory, or the creative process of filmmaking.

The Story of Film: An Odyssey is a series that is currently running and has 1 seasons (15 episodes). The series first aired on September 3, 2011.

The Story of Film: An Odyssey
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Cinema Today and the Future
15. Cinema Today and the Future
December 10, 2011
The series concludes by examining current-day cinema, then goes beyond the present to look at what the future holds for moviemaking.
New American Independents & The Digital Revolution
14. New American Independents & The Digital Revolution
December 3, 2011
This is the story of the movies in the English-speaking world in the '90s. We look at Quentin Tarantino's dialogue and the edge of the Coen brothers.
New Boundaries: World Cinema in Africa, Asia & Latin America
13. New Boundaries: World Cinema in Africa, Asia & Latin America
November 26, 2011
Cinema around the world in the '90s entered a golden age. The story starts in Iran, where we meet Abbas Kiarostami, who rethought moviemaking.
Fight the Power: Protest in Film
12. Fight the Power: Protest in Film
November 19, 2011
This is the story of how brave filmmakers spoke truth to power. Director John Sayles discusses these years. We discover the growth of Chinese cinema.
The Arrival of Multiplexes and Asian Mainstream
11. The Arrival of Multiplexes and Asian Mainstream
November 12, 2011
This chapter explains how films such as Star Wars and Jaws were innovative, then travels to 1970s India to show how Bollywood was doing new things.
Movies to Change the World
10. Movies to Change the World
November 5, 2011
This is the story of the movies that tried to change the world in the '70s. We start in Germany, then head to Britain, Italy, Australia and Japan.
American Cinema of the 70's
9. American Cinema of the 70's
October 29, 2011
Paul Schrader discusses his screenplay for Taxi Driver, Robert Towne talks about Chinatown, and Charles Burnett explores Black American cinema.
New Directors, New Form
8. New Directors, New Form
October 22, 2011
As the new wave in cinema sweeps around the world in the 1960s, we discover the films of Roman Polanski, Andrei Tarkovsky and Nagisa Oshima.
European New Wave
7. European New Wave
October 15, 2011
We discover how French filmmakers in the late '50s and '60s planted a bomb under the movies and see how the new wave it caused swept across Europe.
Sex & Melodrama
6. Sex & Melodrama
October 8, 2011
Mark Cousins explores how sex and melodrama became prevalent themes in movies of the 1950s. He analyses the popularity of James Dean, On the Waterfront and Hollywood's sentimental romantic dramas, and looks at films from Egypt, India, China, Mexico, Britain and Japan that were fuelled by rage and passion. The presenter also interviews Japanese actress Kyoko Kagawa, who starred in films by Akira Kurosawa and Yasujiro Ozu, meets colleagues of renowned Indian director Satyajit Ray and talks to Youssef Chahine, who he regards as the first great African film-maker.
Post-War Cinema
5. Post-War Cinema
October 1, 2011
This chapter shows how the trauma of war made cinema more daring. We start in Italy, then go to Hollywood to chart the darkening of American film.
The Arrival of Sound
4. The Arrival of Sound
September 24, 2011
We see how the coming of sound in the 1930s upended everything and witness the birth of new types of film: horror movies, Westerns, musicals and more.
The Golden Age of World Cinema
3. The Golden Age of World Cinema
September 17, 2011
We visit Paris, Berlin, Moscow, Shanghai and Tokyo in the 1920s to discover the places where moviemakers were pushing the boundaries of the medium.
The Hollywood Dream
2. The Hollywood Dream
September 10, 2011
Film-maker Mark Cousins continues his story of international cinema. In the 1920s, Hollywood became a glittering entertainment industry and witnessed the emergence of stars Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton. Meanwhile, directors such as Carl Theodor Dreyer sought to make more challenging and mature films.
Birth of the Cinema
1. Birth of the Cinema
September 3, 2011
This first chapter shows the birth of a new art form -- the movies -- and the passion that has always driven film, more than money and marketing.
Where to Watch The Story of Film: An Odyssey
The Story of Film: An Odyssey is available for streaming on the More4 website, both individual episodes and full seasons. You can also watch The Story of Film: An Odyssey on demand at Amazon Prime, Amazon, Vudu and Tubi TV.
  • Premiere Date
    September 3, 2011
  • IMDB Rating
    8.4  (4,755)