With The Story of Film: An Odyssey, director Mark Cousins traces the development of film worldwide, both as an art form and a popular pastime, tracing stylistic innovations and visual themes across eras and genres from all corners of the globe. 2011, digital, 180 minutes.
Part 1: The Birth of a Great Art Form
Filmed in the very buildings where the first movies were made, this hour shows ideas and passion as the driving forces behind film, more so than money and marketing. It covers the very first movie stars, the close up shot, special effects, the creation of the Hollywood myth, along with a surprise: the women who were the greatest — and best-paid — writers in these early years.
Part 2: Movies in the Roaring Twenties
Star/directors like Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton made Hollywood a glittering entertainment industry. But the gloss and fantasy was challenged by movie makers like Robert Flaherty, Eric Von Stroheim and Carl Theodor Dreyer, who wanted films to be more serious and mature. The result of this battle for the soul of cinema: some of the greatest movies ever made.
Part 3: World Cinema in the 1920s
German Expressionism, Soviet montage, French impressionism and surrealism pushed the boundaries of film as passionate new movements. Less known are the glories of Chinese and Japanese films, and the moving story of a great, now-forgotten, movie star, Ruan Lingyu.