Just like Martin Scorsese said towards the end of this documentary: There is no ending for this subject. And it's true. 220 minutes still left me unsatisfied. I wish there was something more. But then again, I wasn't lying that I had a very good time watching this documentary. It succeeds to give me some new insights besides some movies that I've never heard of. I think it's very educative and very informative...
The greatest moments in film are the ones that simultaneously unite an audience in joyous communion as they fuel individual imaginations, playing upon the intimate mental associative processes of each moviegoer. Thanks to a new film restoration and distribution market, it is easy to take for granted how invigorating Scorsese's evangelical approach to classic cinema -- especially vulgar auteurism -- was in its time.
Mark Cousins' 'Story of Film' outstages this (even over Godard's 'Histoire(s) du Cinema'). I find the pursuit towards rigour from these auteurs intriguing but by no means definitive or as transcendent as they may hope. That is not to discredit their innate ability to create masterpiece after masterpiece.
Always a pleasure to listen someone knowledgeable on cinema history evaluate independent, avant-garde and especially B-list production with equal passion as chewed-up must-appreciate film canons. But, as even the author himself agrees, this documentary can only be a quick walk through couple of rooms in a much larger museum, and in the end you can only find out how much more you still have to learn.
Sure, it's TV designed for newcomers. It's a bit shapeless when it riffs, a bit too simple in its classifications, and a bit too pat in how history got from point A to point B. But Scorsese is an endlessly congenial presence, and when he hits you with a clip from someone you don't know—Dwan and De Toth for me, maybe someone else for you—you'll realize, as you should, that you're still a newcomer and always will be.
Should be in every cinephile's, filmmaker's, apprentice's, student's (what have you) list of research docs. There isn't a dull moment during this exciting four-hour long talk between one of the greatest filmmakers of our time and all of us throughout the world. One of the best of BFI's Century of Cinema series, this one is definitely mandatory.
The only thing that bothers me in this documentary it probably bothers Martin Scorsese more. As he said in the final of the doc, misses some of great directors and cinema landmarks. It's not complete. However, what Scorsese achieves with this didactic but friendly talk is beyond great, it's really superb. We learn and made us think about movies and the passionate bunch of artists behind them.