The Story of Film: A New Generation
The Story of Film: A Film Odyssey was first released in 2011 as a 15-part series, narrated, written and directed by Mark Cousins. The production was an absorbing academic voyage across over 100 years of cinema, exploring the conception of the medium, new waves and pioneering directors as well as giving an insight into what the on-screen future might look like. Ten years later, audiences are presented with The Story of Film: A New Generation, which reflects on that projection, only now in feature-length form.
Forensically breaking down a multitude of international films, the picture is a fascinating worldwide study for movie buffs. Time is seemingly meaningless in this almost three-hour spectacle that journeys through a number of segments, including those that extend beyond the study of well-known cinematic conventions and ultimately examine new forms such as virtual reality and audience decision-making films. By approaching each category in a thoroughly structured manner, Cousins is able to provide enticing levels of detail and examples as viewers float through genres including comedy, action, musicals, human bodies, horror, slow film and documentary in a dream-like state, learning and remaining transfixed at all times.
This fluidity of this movement, alongside several thought-provoking topics, makes the feature a complete joy to watch. There has evidently been an immeasurable amount of research and time invested into the documentary – one can only imagine the extensive knowledge that is required to make a piece of visual art to this standard. All of this work elevates the piece to an entirely new level and builds the narrative.
From Good Time to Mad Max and Gangs of Wasseypur, The Story of Film: A New Generation covers them all, using scenes from the movies to flesh out the investigation of each topic. Not only does this make for aesthetically pleasing storytelling, but it also creates a positive by-product as the majority of watchers are not likely to have seen many of the films used as examples, thus broadening their knowledge and prompting many to expand their international catalogue.
It is the director’s intrinsic gaze and analysis, along with all the visual detail, that make this piece such an astounding success and it will no doubt prove appealing to audiences of all ages – especially those with an admiration for the beauty of cinema. The documentary highlights the key examples of filmic perfection, appreciating the true art of cinematic storytelling by examining every significant element within “the black box where light matters”. For the viewers, it just seems such a shame that we will have to wait so long for the next astonishing chapter.
The Story of Film: A New Generation does not have a UK release date yet.
Read more reviews and interviews from our London Film Festival 2021 coverage here.
For further information about the festival visit the official BFI website here.