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The Story of Film: Got 900 minutes to kill?

THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY That print of Big Momma's House 2 deserved better.

THE STORY OF FILM: AN ODYSSEY That print of Big Momma's House 2 deserved better.

THE FIRST USE of the "close-up" in a movie was in 1901. It was a shot of a kitten being spoon-fed medicine. It's about the greatest thing ever, and just one of a legion of fun facts to be gleaned from Mark Cousins' amazing 15-hour survey of cinema history, The Story of Film: An Odyssey. The critic turned filmmaker first created his conversational study for British cable with the goal of drawing a clear chronology from the invention of rolled film and projection to the onset of 21st-century digital cinema whilst exploring everything in between, and in doing so, he circles the globe in search of films and filmmakers who never got their dues. The collected anecdotes debunk many Hollywood myths, and the carefully chosen clips artfully back up the director's theories. The Story of Film is addictive, and the Northwest Film Center has thankfully spaced the five three-hour-long episodes over multiple weeks so cinephiles who want to take the plunge can go all the way in. Or you can just pick the period of history that suits your fancy. Either way, bring a notebook—you're likely to leave with a huge list of new flicks to see.

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