Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

The Story of Film: An Odyssey


This is indeed the story of film … but it may not be what you expect. It is fifteen episodes, one hour each, and was put together by Mark Cousins, an Irishman. (The only thing I kind of wish he hadn’t done was narrate it himself. He has a boring, monotonous voice with that Irish up-tilt on the last word of a sentence. Oddly, he sounds a lot like Werner Herzog.) He indeed covers it all, from the Lumière brothers to the present era of quarter-billion-dollar blockbusters, franchises, and “tentpoles,” but he doesn’t concentrate just on Hollywood and Europe, he refreshingly covers the rest of the world more than anyone I’ve ever seen.

I will admit that some of it didn’t appeal to me, particularly Bollywood, which makes some of the most astonishing trash I’ve ever seen. But elsewhere he covers literally dozens of films I’ve never heard of, from Africa, South America, and Asian countries you could go a few decades without ever thinking about. If you want a really broad history of the flicks, this is where you should go.