Ten hours into THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY (2011), my head was reeling with “begats,” such as this-scene-was-influenced-by-this-scene-which-was-influenced-by-this-scene etc., etc. In sum, like all art — and life itself — filmmaking is influenced by what has come before, the impact of cultural and political changes, and what technology allows. As this history of film gathers steam across time, the cross-pollination of influences and innovation gets more and more diverse and less linear.In the segments of THE STORY OF FILM that explore movies of the 1960s and 1970s, filmmaker and historian Mark Cousins examines the influential directors of Europe’s New Wave, the emergence of a new, “dazzling” world cinema, and the evolution of American film post-Hollywood’s Golden Age. As this new wave of world cinema grows and matures, filmmaking around the world doesn’t just reflect culture, it attempts to change it.
Here are only just a very few of the notable films cited by Cousins from the world cinema directors of the 1960s and 1970s to add to your Watch List:
-Roman Polanski’s TWO MEN AND A WARDROBE (1958) and THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS (1967)
-Andrei Tarkovsky’s ANDRE RUBLEV (1966)
-Milos Forman’s THE FIREMAN’S BALL (1967)
-Nagisa Oshima’s BOY (1969)
-Vera Chytilova’s DAISIES (1966)
-Ousmane Sembene’s BLACK GIRL (1969)
-Ritwik Ghatak’s THE CLOUD-CAPPED STAR (1960)
-Werner Fassbinder’s THE BITTER TEARS OF PETRA VAN KANT (1972)
-Donald Cammell & Nicholas Roeg’s PERFORMANCE (1970)
-Bernardo Bertolucci’s THE CONFORMIST (1970)
One of the most spellbinding moments in THE STORY OF FILM is watching the beautiful and imaginative continuous shot from the funeral scene in I AM CUBA (1964) by Mikhail Kalatozov. What an achievement — without computer-generated graphics. You can watch this one again and again.
Following the growth in world cinema, Cousins opines that American film of the ’70s was next up for a sea change, emphasizing the cynical and dissident films, such as Mike Nichols’ THE GRADUATE (1967) and CATCH 22 (1970); the “assimilationist” film, like Peter Bogdanovich’s THE LAST PICTURE SHOW (1971), which simultaneously pays homage to film’s past and its future; and identity films, such as Martin Scorsese’e ITALIANAMERICAN (1974).
The next era covered in THE STORY OF FILM “ushers in the age of the multiplex,” with blockbusters like JAWS, STAR WARS, and THE EXORCIST from the States, and Bollywood and Bruce Lee from Asia. Stay tuned….just a few more hours to go!
THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY (2011) is a 15-part, 15-hour documentary exploring the convergence of technology, business, intelligence, and vision that has created the remarkable and powerful art of cinema. Music Box Films is distributing this new documentary, and Chicago’s Music Box Theater has just completed a multi-week screening of this ambitious effort. The DVD will be released in November 2012. You will want to add it to your collection.