Back in January, I watched Mark Cousins’ epic documentary The Story of Film: An Odyssey, a 15-hour look at the history of global cinema, filtered through Cousins’ idiosyncratic search for the new and the innovative. It’s an amazing work on its own, and a great introduction to world cinema, with a healthy skepticism toward the accepted western canon while also recognizing the influences that canon has had and continues to have.
The film is available on Netflix Instant, but Turner Classic Movies is going one step further throughout September and October and screening the documentary in parts throughout the month accompanied by many of the films Cousins’ cites. This is an extraordinary programming feat, because TCM is not just playing the Hollywood-era classics that are its bread and butter, but ranging far out into silent, world, and even more modern cinema to accommodate the scope of Cousins’ work. Trust me, this month on TCM is going to be like a mini film school in a box. And it’s only on Mondays and Tuesdays! The rest of the week plays out with other great TCM programs, including tributes to Hitchcock and Kim Novak, and the ongoing Essentials series.
I won’t pretend I’m not rather intimidated by the number of films I want to see on TCM’s schedule this month, especially with the limited amount of time I have to watch movies right now. My DVR is already at 70% capacity, largely with movies off TCM dating back to LAST NOVEMBER that I haven’t had time to watch. This is going to take some judicious planning to make sure we make the most of this month (Jonathan hasn’t even seen the documentary itself yet), but I do encourage those of you who don’t have a six-month-old at home to immerse yourselves this month. You’ll get a film education that you’re unlikely to get again anytime soon, all from the comfort of your living room.
The first week of programming starts on Monday, September 2, with The Story of Film – Episode One, 1895-1918: The World Discovers a New Art Form and a number of early films by Edison, Lumiere, Griffith, and other pioneering filmmakers. Click over to TCM’s Story of Film microsite to see the full schedule. And get ready for your DVR to weep.