As told through clips from 183 female directors, this epic revisionist history of the cinema focuses on women's integral role in the development of film art. Using almost a thousand film extracts from thirteen decades and five continents, Mark Cousins asks how films are made, shot and edited; how stories are shaped and how movies depict life, love, politics, humour and death, all through the compelling lens of some of the world's greatest filmmakers - all of them women.Written by
Ulf Kjell Gür
Like taking a university class on film history and film making
"Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema" (2019 release from the UK: 840 min.) is a documentary about the role of female directors in the history of film making. In the Introduction, the voice-over and narrator (Tilda Swinton) reflects on the often overlooked role of female directors, and that this documentary aims to correct that once and for all. We then dig in, class style almost, into 40 further chapters about any and all aspects of film making, starting with "Openings", and then on to "Tone", "Believability", "Introducing a Character", "Meet Cute", and so on, you get the idea. Each chapter is subdivided into further subchapters (typically anywhere from 4 to 6), and of course each of them chock full of movie clips. If this sounds like it's almost too good to be true, well it is true nevertheless. Finger lickin' good for movie lovers!
Couple of comments: this is the latest from UK writer-director Mark Cousins, whose previous work includes "The Eyes of Orson Welles", among many others. Here his ambition is ever larger than usual, and he takes on the Herculean task of documenting what women directors have accomplished over the last 100 years or so, almost encyclopedia-like. I will readily admit that I had never heard of quite a few of these women directors. To be clear: Cousins isn't just looking at the US or the UK, no, he is examining this from a global perspective! Hence plenty of attention is given to female directors from the Soviet Union, Japan, and many other countries too many to name. It absolutely blows the mind.
This documentary isn't geared towards the masses, but instead is waiting to be discovered and treasured by serious film buffs (of which I consider myself one). I happen to stumble onto this earlier this week when I was channel-surfing, and noticed this listed on Turner Classic Movies. TCM is airing this documentary in weekly episodes of about 70 min. each (typically 3 chapters per episode), with every episode including a 10 min. interview with Cousins to introduce that night's episode. New episodes air on Tuesday at 8 pm Eastern. I can't wait to see this entire series as it unfolds in the next 10 weeks or so. "Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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