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An innovative 'magic realist' documentary set in Iraq. Filmmaker Mark Cousins, who was brought up in a Northern Irish war zone, travels to Goptapa, a Kurdish-Iraqi village of just 700 ... See full summary »
Gharib Ahmad Rauf,
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Film critic and historian 'Mark Cousins' uses film clips, interviews with filmmakers, and illustrative footage of locations around the world to take viewers through film and filmmaking history, from the late 19th century to today, with a particular emphasis on world cinema. Written by
If what you want is an obvious western view of the history of film narrated by, say, Patrik Stewart, don't watch this.
Cousins Ulster brogue requires a little getting used to and much of this is his (well informed) personal opinion, but if you can stick with the low budget, stylised camera work and editing it is a joy. The descriptions of various styles of cinematography and editing as opposed to film text and meaning is inventive and informative, very different to the often imposed micro analysis you get from film studies text. I loved hearing cousins say things like "...deep space, shallow focus...single take, no fast cutting..." I soon found myself looking at films thinking Cousin-like about what I Was seeing on screen.
I learnt about how different directors and cinematographers influenced each other, how styles emerged, faded, and reemerged. How new directors from different countries, influenced by Hollywood, reshaped those ideas and created new personal films reflecting the psyche of their own nations. Cousin's odyssey is like a poem, his narration is often abstract yet personal. But it is exciting and informative, a different take on a subject history that all to often is written in stone. Refreshing and far from obvious this deserves far more respect than some people give it.
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