A Story of Children and Film is a documentary by Mark Cousins which explores the history of cinema and the roles that child actors have had in it. The film uses an interesting approach that utilizes a magnitude of different movies dating back to the earliest era and cinema and reaching all the way across different parts of the world. Cousins also intercut footage he took of niece and nephew and contrasts it to the films he’s talking about creating the actual narrative of the documentary. Aside from the footage that he took, and a few brief shots at the end of the piece, a majority of the film is footage from other movies with Cousins narration.
The topic that the A Story of Children and Film explores is not a commonly covered one, so Cousins does a good job at breaking new ground and exploring the various aspects of it. However, the films biggest downfall is its narration which is done by the director himself. Some filmmakers can pull off narrating their own films, however Cousins done so in the most monotone way imaginable. It can only be assumed that this is done intentionally with an attempt to speak in a somewhat poetic way; however it can often feel dry and boring at times. The footage really is the essential attention grabber in the documentary, and it becomes really interesting to see how the earliest pieces of cinema have had an ever growing influence on the most modern films released. Cousins goes on to point out that cinema is one of the newest art forms and that it is almost a child itself, something not often thought about considering how young of an art form film really is. Instead of simply narrating the entire piece, real life footage of family members was used to flow from topic to topic, thus removing the choppiness that a documentary like this could have easily fallen victim to.
The Story of Film: An Odyssey
Written and Directed by Mark Cousins
Last year Mark Cousins in conjunction with the BBC brought us a 15 part epic series entitled The Story of Film: An Odyssey. Starting last weekend and continuing through to November The Hot Docs Bloor Cinema is presenting the entire series in 2 part chunks on Sunday nights with replays on Tues nights, only taking a break to present the Toronto After Dark Film Festival in late October. Starting from back at the turn of the 20th century, The Story of Film attempts to present the most complete version of the history of film production put forward. Not content to just focus on the Hollywood scene, Cousins spans the globes for the most influential films and filmmakers of their time and presents their stories in detail.
The first two episodes cover the start of film, from the…
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