Monday, November 4, 2013

The Story of Film: An Update

This first Monday in November sees the tenth installment of The Story of Film: An Odyssey on TCM. From here on out, the accompanying programming will only be on Monday nights. No reairing of the documentary on Tuesdays and no movies in prime time Tuesday to go along with the documentary. This week brings movies from around the world in the 1970s, with films from Australia, Germany, and Senegal, among others.

I have to admit that I haven't been too terribly interested in the documentary itself after seeing the first part, which really bounced around too much when a more didactic discussion of the pioneering days of film would have sufficed. Parts of the first two episodes also gave me a vibe of "Let's slag Hollywood for the sake of doing so", which is something I have an instinctive reaction against. Not that Hollywood is the be-all and end-all of cinema; it's more that some people give me the impression of pushing the pendulum too far in the other direction.

I'm always up for interesting and new-to-me foreign films, though, and in that regard, along with some of the silent stuff that got shown, the programming around The Story of Film has been quite a good thing. Some of it, like Falling Leaves or Rome, Open City, I had already seen before, but was nice to have on the schedule again. (I say this especially about early silent stuff.) Other films, like the Japanese film Boy a couple of weeks back, was totally new to me in that I had never even heard of it. Boy, unfortunately, doesn't seem to be on DVD, which is a shame since it's a very interesting, if imperfect movie.

Some of them, I have to admit I didn't particularly care for, such as Jean Vigo's Zéro de conduite, which to me really didn't seem to go anywhere or have characters I was particularly interested in. But I'm sure there are people who don't like some of my selections, and TCM really should be praised for giving everybody something new to try.

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