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The Story of Film: An Odyssey (15-Hour Epic Journey Through The History Of Cinema)

Photo of Tambay A. Obenson By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act October 23, 2012 at 6:01PM

15 hours might seem like a really long time for one film, BUT we ARE talking about the history of cinema here folks! To comprehensively cover the history of cinema, you'd need more than 15 hours.
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Story Of Film

15 hours might seem like a really long time for one film, BUT we ARE talking about the history of cinema here folks! To comprehensively cover the history of cinema, you'd need more than 15 hours.

I'd rather watch something as ambitious as this, than some 90-minute documentary on the subject that condenses the history, or only focuses on popular periods and/or movements. 

And I'd certainly hope that a film that makes the above claim would indeed be thorough, and all-inclusive - well, almost. I'd be really disappointed if I watched all 15 hours only to discover that the emphasis is primarily on American and European cinema.

Directed and hosted by film historian Mark CousinsMusic Box Films Home Entertainment will release The Story Of Film: An Odyssey on VOD, Digital Download, and a five-disc deluxe DVD box set for the first time in the USA on November 20, for the suggested retail price of $69.95.

The film made its broadcast premiere in September, 2011 on the UK's Channel 4, after its North American premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was featured in its entirety.

Its USA debut was in January of this year at the Museum of Modern Art here in NYC.

And now it's heading to home video here in the USA, on several formats, accessible to almost everyone.

I haven't seen it; but I'm definitely curious to take it all in - all 15 hours; although not in one sitting.

The breakdown of all 15 hours follows:

Part 1 - 1895-1918: The World Discovers - A New Artform.

Part 2 - 1918-1928: The Triumph of American Film - and the First of Its Rebels

Part 3 - 1918-1932: The Great Rebel Filmmakers - Around the World

Part 4 - The 1930s: The Great American Movie Genres - and the Brilliance of European Films

Part 5 - 1939-1952: The Devastation of War - and a New Movie Language

Part 6 - 1953-1957: The Swollen Story - World Cinema Bursting at the Seams

Part 7 - 1957-1964: The Shock of the New - Modern Filmmaking In Western Europe

Part 8 - 1965-1969: New Waves - Sweep Around the World

Part 9 - 1967-1979: New American Cinema

Part 10 - 1969-1979: Radical Directors in the 70s - Make State of the Nation Movies

Part 11 - 1970s and Onwards: Innovation in Popular Culture - Around the World

Part 12 - The 1980s: Moviemaking and Protest - Around the World.

Part 13 - 1990-1998: The Last Days of Celluloid - Before the Coming of Digital

Part 14 - The 1990s: The First Days of Digital - Reality Losing Its Realness in America and Australia

Part 15 - 2000 Onwards: Film Moves Full Circle - and the Future of Movies

The rest of the story in the press release below (trailer underneath):

Chicago, IL (October 8, 2012) – THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY is an unprecedented cinematic event—an epic journey that chronicles the birth and evolution of the world’s greatest popular art form: cinema. A 15-hour-long documentary survey that begins with the invention of motion pictures at the end of the 19th Century and concludes with the multi-billion dollar globalized digital industry of the 21st Century, THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY is a monumental work about yesterday and tomorrow—and everything in between. Directed and hosted by film historian Mark Cousins, THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY is, in Cousin’s own words, “a love letter to cinema”—a bold, passionate and essential chronicle on the history and growth of world cinema.

Music Box Films Home Entertainment will release THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY on VOD, Digital Download, and a five-disc deluxe DVD box set for the first time in the U.S. on November 20 (prebook: October 16, 2012) for the suggested retail price of $69.95.

Painstakingly researched, curated and filmed over a six year period on five continents, THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY covers 120 years of world cinema in 15 hour-long installments brimming with more than one thousand film clips from the greatest and most important movies ever made. The Birth of a Nation, Frankenstein, The Grand Illusion, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Little Caesar, Blade Runner, The Seventh Seal, Raging Bull, Gone with the Wind, A Hard Day’s Night, City Lights, Saving Private Ryan, Johnny Guitar and Psycho are only a handful of the hundreds of movies that are represented onscreen in the unprecedented cinematic voyage of THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY.

THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY takes viewers to many famous moments in film -- the birth of Hollywood and the great movie genres, the evolution of movie stardom, the shock of the French “New Wave,” the revolution of digital cinema, and much more. But THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY goes further and deeper in the history of cinema than any other recent celluloid survey, examining, amongst many things, Shanghai films of the 30s, the great Indian melodramas of the 50s and the triumph of African filmmakers of the 70s. It also touches and delves into social issues at various periods in the 20th Century including the role of women in cinema and the driving forces behind the industry.

Filmed at key locations in film history around the world—from Thomas Edison’s New Jersey laboratory to Alfred Hitchcock’s London; and from post-war Rome to the thriving industry of modern day Mumbai—THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY also features a cascade of interviews with legendary filmmakers and actors including Stanley Donen, Kyoko Kagawa, Gus van Sant, Lars Von Trier, Wim Wenders, Abbas Kiarostami, Claire Denis, Bernardo Bertolucci, Paul Schrader, Robert Towne, Jane Campion and Claudia Cardinale.

Lauded as a treasure by and for movie lovers around the globe, THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY had its broadcast premiere in September, 2011 on More4, the digital television service of UK broadcaster Channel 4. Following its North American premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival, where it was featured in its entirety, THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY had its U.S. debut in January, 2012 at New York City’s prestigious Museum of Modern Art. It has since played in more than 20 major markets across the country, garnering outstanding notices, sell-out crowds and an increasingly acclaimed profile.

Staggering in its scope and ambition, THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY is a cinematic landmark, an outstanding and loving paean to the world of film and, quite assuredly, the most comprehensive historical document on cinema ever created.


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