Scene by Scene (1996) - News Poster

(1996–2001)

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De Palma review

Ryan Lambie Published Date Friday, September 23, 2016 - 06:17

If director Brian De Palma was sometimes criticised for settling for style over substance in his thrillers, this feature-length documentary about his career is reassuringly basic in its approach. Barring archive footage and one, solitary moment, directors Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow divide their retrospective between sequences from De Palma’s movies and interviews with the filmmaker himself, seated in front of a grey fireplace.

It’s the kind of move that could be regarded as lazy or tentative in some circumstances, but Baumbach and Paltrow are shrewd enough to recognise that a director known for his technical flourishes needs room to breathe; and besides, De Palma and his movies are interesting enough subjects that they hardly need further embellishment.

Even De Palma’s structure is straightforward: we start at the beginning, when the future director of Carrie and The Untouchables was a kid,
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Watch: 93-Minute Compilation Of Interviews By Mark Cousins With Martin Scorsese, Roman Polanski, Dennis Hopper, More

Mark Cousins is a philanthropist of cinema, plain and simple. A decade before his incredible 15-hour documentary — which originally premiered as 15 one-hour TV episodes — “The Story Of Film: An Odyssey,” Cousins was already down the rabbit hole of film history with another TV venture, “Scene By Scene.” “Scene By Scene” ran for 24 episodes on the BBC from 1999 to 2000, and was made of in-depth interviews with some of the finest directors and actors working at the time, from Martin Scorsese and David Lynch, to Brian de Palma and Woody Allen (to hardly scratch the surface). According to a brief statement by Cousins, the series hit some copyright issues and hasn’t seen the light of day in a decade. But the man wanted these interviews out there. So, with the help of editor Timo Lager, Cousins has put together two 90 minute mash-ups of “Scene By Scene” and the first has now hit the Internet.
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The film critics who turned to filmmaking

From the Pudsey The Dog movie to Joe Cornish and Roger Ebert, what happens when critics make films themselves?

Arts critics tend to get a rough time of it in the movies. Even looking at this year's awards season hopefuls, Birdman casts a wonderfully scabrous Lindsay Duncan as a theatre critic who is determined to kill the hero's play, and Mr. Turner presents John Ruskin as a lisping, pretentious fop, a representation that has led some to take mild umbrage.

To look even further back, at Ratatouille's sneering Anton Ego, or Lady In The Water's film-savvy 'straw critic', or Theatre Of Blood's gleefully murderous tract, there's not a whole lot of love for critics in film. Any of this might give way to the preconception that critics, especially film critics, don't actually like films and that they're out of touch with both the filmmakers whose works they
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Watch: Martin Scorsese Discusses His Fimography In 50-Minute Episode Of 'Scene By Scene' With Mark Cousins

In 1998, Martin Scorsese was just coming off production on "Kundun." In some ways a surprising follow-up to "Casino," "Kundun" took Scorsese overseas to China and Tibet. On April 4, 1998, he sat down with Irish filmmaker and critic Mark Cousins on the talk show "Scene By Scene’ to discuss select parts of his filmography that led to "Kundun." This illuminating interview with the director splices clips from his films together, as well as archival footage of Scorsese and his cast and crews on set. The interview opens with Cousins and Scorsese watching a scene from "After Hours," in which Griffin Dunne delivers a monologue (while giving a massage) about having his tonsils removed as a young child. Watching the clip jogs Scorsese’s memory, and he explains how when he was a boy, his mother duped him into going under the knife to have his tonsils taken out. He recalls not speaking
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Watch: 50-Minute Episode Of 'Scene By Scene' By Mark Cousins Featuring Roman Polanski

Regular readers of the blog will likely have already caught up with episodes of "Scene By Scene," Mark Cousins' former BBC series focusing on various filmmakers. We've already featured episodes centered on David Lynch, Woody Allen, Brian De Palma and Bernardo Bertoucci. If you haven't seen them, they're well worth a spin, and now comes another that's definitely worth setting aside an hour for. The 2000 broadcast of "Scene By Scene" featuring Roman Polanski has made its way online, and as always, it's a fascinating look at the filmmaker, who also participates in the TV doc. The show takes a journey through his films (Polanski remarks that he hasn't seen "The Tenant" in a while) with some very insightful comments from the man himself, in what proves to be a pretty wide-ranging chat all around. This is definitely one you'll want to make time for, so click below or bookmark
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Watch: 2 Episodes Of 'Scene By Scene' By Mark Cousins Featuring Brian De Palma & Bernardo Bertolucci

In terms of the conflict between content and presentation, director and critic Mark Cousins is a singular case. Exampled most in his 15-hour documentary epic, “The Story of Film,” Cousins explores ideas surrounding film and its players with a personal, insightful ability, but also carries a lilting accented brogue (featured prominently) that can be irksome for some . However, his interviews are always topnotch, and that trend continues today with archival talks with two cinematic giants. Filmed for the 90s BBC series, “Scene by Scene,” which found Cousins in both the directorial and hosting roles, he turns his program over to two worthy subjects: Brian De Palma and Bernardo Bertolucci. We've brought you Cousins' interviews with Woody Allen and David Lynch before, but here, you can witness the “alligator grin” of De Palma as he dissects voyeurism and redemption in his films, while elsewhere, Bertolucci talks about his love...
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Watch: 50-Minute Episode Of 'Scene By Scene' By Mark Cousins Featuring David Lynch

If the “Scene By Scene” interview with Woody Allen whetted your appetite for in-depth film discussion, there’s more to be found here. In this episode from critic/filmmaker Mark Cousin’s brief BBC series, he sits down with the enigma that is David Lynch. Conducted prior to the release of "The Straight Story," Cousins talks with Lynch about his issues with agoraphobia, the language of film, the behind-the-scene details of “Twin Peaks”, "Blue Velvet," "The Elephant Man" and much more. It's pretty much a must for any fan of Lynch, giving viewers a pretty rare and generous sit down with the director. Check it out below, and there's a mostly complete transcript as well right here.
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Watch: 1-Hour Episode Of 'Scene By Scene' By Mark Cousins Featuring Woody Allen

School is almost out, but the learning never stops when you have access to the internet. There are so many discussions, behind-the-scenes videos, and interviews from master filmmakers floating on the web that you can spend a whole summer immersing yourself in the world of film studies and not run out of material. So to kick off your summer studies, why not start off with some Woody Allen? Below you'll find a one hour episode of “Scene By Scene,” a brief BBC series from critic/filmmaker Mark Cousins (the man behind the epic 15-part "The Story Of Film" and "What Is This Film Called Love?"). The show had him talking to directors about their body of work and dissecting their process, with the ample running time allowing him to really dig deep. In this one hour discussion circa June 2000 (around the release of "Small Time Crooks") Woody talks about his obsession with death,
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