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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a fantastic achievement
Mark Cousins has always struck me as one of the film commentators who are totally reliable - along with people like Tony Rayns, Geoff Andrew and Jonathan Romney - in a world where there is a certain amount of pretension, it has to be said! Here he takes us through the whole of film history, essentially using his immense erudition to present the material in a totally...
Published 14 months ago by schumann_bg

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Formatting on Kindle a let down
I liked this book a lot and like Mark Cousins style and approach, however I would recommend shelling out on the print edition, the Kindle version is frustrating, has words missing or mis-spelt, and the way the text works with the pictures hasn't been thought out at all. Shame.
Published 2 months ago by grh101


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars a fantastic achievement, 7 May 2013
By 
schumann_bg - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Story of Film (Hardcover)
Mark Cousins has always struck me as one of the film commentators who are totally reliable - along with people like Tony Rayns, Geoff Andrew and Jonathan Romney - in a world where there is a certain amount of pretension, it has to be said! Here he takes us through the whole of film history, essentially using his immense erudition to present the material in a totally accessible way. You don't need to have been on any course, or be intending to, for this to be a completely fascinating reading experience. In fact it has taken me several months to read it, and I shall go back to a lot of sections repeatedly. His basic premise is that there are a certain number of patterns for filmmakers to use which he calls schema, and he focuses on directors who in some way have changed these. They of course vary widely from one culture to another. One of the many strengths of the book is the way it puts Hollywood in a context, alongside other national cinemas, but not above them. And quite often it has not been Hollywood that has been producing the films that really merit attention. The implication is that it has dominated too much, although he would be the first to admit the brilliance of classic Hollywood films from the black and white era and the 70s. But he also has an especially high regard for India, Japan, China, Africa, Iran (this last in particular); in fact, just about everywhere has had their phases of remarkable creativity where cinema has been a national expression of some force. I find him very evenhanded on gender questions, in fact, often highlighting women directors who have led the way, and similarly he draws attention to a number of directors who have given expression to a gay sensibility, without drawing them together as such. I might have welcomed something along these lines, but you have no doubt that he rates Pasolini alongside John Ford, Agnes Varda, or Abbas Kiarostami. The only problem is that the story stops around 2001, with a foreword from 2011. I would very much like him to cover the remaining 12 years, which have thrown up a lot of excellent films, it seems to me, and particularly from women and gay directors. It is also very badly proofed - I've never seen so many typos in any other book, but other than that the paper is very durable and it is full of colour and black and white stills that illustrate his points brilliantly. The page layout is also outstanding.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent history of film...., 10 Jun 2005
By 
Jason Parkes "We're all Frankies'" (Worcester, UK) - See all my reviews
(No. 1 Hall OF FAME REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Story of Film (Hardcover)
Mark Cousins is known for fronting the now defunct 'Moviedrome'-series and the excellent 'Scene by Scene'- which also now seems defunct- where he interviewed figures like David Lynch and Martin Scorsese while taking in scenes from their brilliant careers. 'The Story of Film' advances on Cousins' journalistic work and combines with his academic work in the medium in Scotland...
'The Story of Film' does what he says on the cover really, a concise history of cinema focusing on movements and scenes accompanied by still-images from many of the films discussed. It's extremely user-friendly and would make an ideal primer to anyone interested in Film Studies - and a lot cheaper than books like 'Film Art' too! A book I'd rank up there with 'The Cinema Book' , 'The Oxford Guide to Film Studies' & Susan Hayward's book of film definitions (though the list of terms and further reading is a little short at the end- I'd like to have seen more titles included, a minor gripe though...)
'The Story of Film' is a riveting read that contextualises the greatest art form of the 20th Century and covers such figures as Werner Herzog, Pier Paolo Pasolini, Scorsese, Ken Loach, Lynch, Jean-Luc Godard, Steven Spielberg, Luchino Visconti...and so on. Great part on The New German Cinema, on the influence of Bertolucci's masterpiece 'The Conformist' (1970) on The New American Cinema (notably Paul Schrader) & on how the U.S. blockbuster (The Exorcist, Jaws, Star Wars IV: A New Hope) ultimately ruined the auteurist movement established by 'Easy Rider','Bonnie & Clyde','Taxi Driver','The Conversation' & 'American Gigolo.'
'The Story of Film' is excellently written, extremely informative and a breeze to read - ANYONE interested in film should read it...
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Ambitious and relevant revision of film for start of 21C, 1 Jan 2012
This review is from: The Story of Film (Hardcover)
The whole way through reading this book i kept thinking , Gombrich, Gombrich, Gombrich.
Gombrich wrote the definitive History of Western Art from the Byzantine to the end of the 19th C. His book was used to teach the Art History curriculum in British state schools until recently.

Cousin's book seems to be modelled on Gombrich's approach. The book cover resembles a cross between Gombrich's book - The Story of Art - and also Hughes - The shock of the New.

Much of the structure and approach to reinvigorating cinematic history seems to have come from Gombrich's approach to telling the story of aesthetic progression in painting and sculpture.

What we get is Cousin's at times sophisticated, and at other times, highly personal, often male-centric picking, choosing and moving through a progression of key works or movements, people or ideas across a broad spectrum of 'global' cinema in a basic progression through historical time.

There's no doubt that the book introduces a whole plethora of key works going right back to the dawn of cinema, which have simply been absent from previous cinema history books. It's worth reading the book in order to string together the knowledge of influential works he makes reference to.

The Gombrich/Hughes approach drives the book through a constant, both intermittently startling and new whilst at other times a little male and introverted in an attempt to keep the whole together.

There are absences some of which are surprising and some of which either Cousin's doesn't wish to discuss or he simply is not interested in. For example, no mention of Chris Marker's innovative and highly influential documentary work. No expansion of queer or feminist cinema which is also influential in challenging gender portrayal in cinema. No expansion of the development of the use of film and video as an Art form in the global Contemporary Art scene. In exchange for these omissions, Cousin's tends to alight briefly on each of his chosen subjects and it's best to make notes of the ones that interest you and seek further knowledge elsewhere.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Formatting on Kindle a let down, 7 May 2014
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This review is from: The Story of Film (Kindle Edition)
I liked this book a lot and like Mark Cousins style and approach, however I would recommend shelling out on the print edition, the Kindle version is frustrating, has words missing or mis-spelt, and the way the text works with the pictures hasn't been thought out at all. Shame.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great book but no changes, 10 Oct 2011
By 
M. C. Wootton (edinburgh, scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Story of Film (Hardcover)
great book and i recommend but dont expect any changes from previous editions apart from the forward.
the contents havent been changed at all and the previous edition can be picked up new or used for a far cheaper price.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wide Ranging, 2 Dec 2010
By 
Chris H (Hove, Sussex) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Story of Film (Hardcover)
This guy knows his onions.

It is not perhaps a book that anybody reads straight through. There is so much in it that one has to break off now and then to... watch a film. And he makes one want to catch up. This is a all a world away from slick, industry-driven journalism but it is also not arid "film studies" as he makes many interesting links between images across the decades.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Knowledgable and informative, 12 April 2007
By 
SJSmith (UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Story of Film (Paperback)
This is a great book. I read this over a period of several weeks, one section at a time. It has so much information in it! It can be enjoyed by someone simply interested in a specific era of film; a student; a teacher; or for dipping in and out of as a reference.

Written in an easy style it does not assume any prior knowledge. I have studied film within a Cultural Studies degree and I still learned so much. A valuable resource with plenty of still images and other references to move on to.

It covers silent films: 1895-1928; sound: 1928-1990; digital from 1990 to date. A range of countries, genres films covered.

Excellent!
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Story of Film, 29 Nov 2013
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This review is from: The Story of Film (Hardcover)
This was a gift for a film buff. I looked through it and thought it was informative and interesting.
I was surprised that the old films got away with such erotica and horror.
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4.0 out of 5 stars present!!, 10 Oct 2013
By 
Kevin Saunders "Frattonizer" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Story of Film (Hardcover)
bought as a present for father in law, bit of a film buff, said thoughly enjoyed it, so a good buy!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent!, 8 Aug 2013
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This review is from: The Story of Film (Hardcover)
A wonderful journey through the history of film. The breadth and scope of this book is amazing and I found it hard to put down. I also have the DVD, which I would highly recommend. They make essential viewing/reading for anyone who is interested in film. It has inspired me to watch some films I would have previously been unaware of.
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The Story of Film
The Story of Film by Mark Cousins (Hardcover - 20 Sep 2011)
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