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The First Movie
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16:09 20 Dec 2011
I am 42 and I remember there were two movies in the mid 70's which entranced me as a child and started my great love of cinema, the first was an at home tv movie experience of watching Singing in the Rain with my whole family sat in front of the tv watching too. My first magical cinema experience was a British sci-fi film called The First Men in the Moon. I was totally entranced by these Victorian gentlemen apparently visiting the moon and fighting monsters. I became an avid fan of films from that point on and have such fond memories of the BBC2 saturday night horror double bill and the (Tyne Tees region) Fear on friday horror movies. They were the highlight of my week as a child.
19:07 18 Dec 2011
@zampano - love the name by the way! I find Mark Cousins' voice a bit much as well, though I wouldn't necessarily say he's pretentious. You'd have to be a nice enough sort to make a sweet a film as this.
Could have done without the rolled up eyelids though, yuck! Un chien andalou, Zombie Flesh Eaters, A Clockwork Orange... there's simply no level of eye abuse I can withstand :(
11:52 17 Dec 2011
I can remember seeing many well known popcorn films in my youth that made me look up in awe at the worlds that could be created on the screen, but the first film that I saw that made me sit up and take film seriously as a medium capable of intelligent political efficacy was a little known British film called 'Friendship's Death' (1987).
I wonder if you have seen this one, Dr Kermode?
Written and directed by the academic Peter Wollen, it starred a then very young Tilda Swinton and Bill Paterson. The film had the effect of bringing me down to earth from the inter-planetary starship duels of the Hollywood factory and said "hey, science-fiction, and film more broadly, can be economic, minimalist, wordy, as well as have a political heart beat and, more crucially, be profoundly interesting and engaging without having to be an over-ripe space opera with tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars thrown at it."
Thank you Peter Wollen. I'll take you over Michael Bay any day.
10:38 16 Dec 2011
The Film that changed my life was Blade Runner. I saw it at my grandparents house when I was 8. I remember very clearly the effect it had on me. How I loved the development of the characters and the stunning visuals. It was like watching a painting by Turner. It still remains to this day that the original cut of Blade Runner holds a very special place in my heart. I know that most fans of blade runner hate the original cut with the narration but to me it perfect. To me its like a futuristic Neo chandler film, I still cant help myself watching any cut of it when it comes on. I understand people may have problems with it but to its the perfecr experience of cinema and reason film can be art and menaingful.
09:26 16 Dec 2011
I watched this in the cinema upon Mark's recommendation and had the unexpected pleasure of attending a screening with a post-film Q&A with Mr Cousins, who was just as charming and quietly passionate in person as he is in The First Movie and his remarkable Story of Film series.
Great film and a great voice!
Brian - New Forest
16:57 15 Dec 2011
@ above collectively bashing Cousins voice -- having seen him live, his voice isn't all that different, a little less mannered at speed. Somehow in "The First Movie" it works, but elsewhere his cadence does sometimes seem to be straining for meaning which can sound pretentious, and I've found it cloying, too at times. On the other hand, it seems a bit churlish to suggest he shouldn't present his own programs. If you think of all the telly historians and popular science presenters, not all have voices made for radio and faces for TV. I think we're a bit inured to received pronunciation, telly docs keeping those equity lovies employed between acting gigs, if we hear anything at all regional, we must be watching big brother or eurotrash. He's an acknowledged expert in his field not a terrorist needing to be "voiced" by an actor.
Cousins clearly knows his stuff, and his Story of Film is a massive undertaking, and bears a visit, whether you agree with all his takes on things or not. It's worth forgiving him his vocal apparatus, and his sometimes stilted arguments.
16:50 15 Dec 2011
Gutted that I missed this in the cinema as was enthralled by guest appearance of Marc Cousins on the Kermode show about this film earlier this year. Gutted further in ploughing the street of Edinburgh today to no avail in finding any outlet selling this. OK can order on Amazon but want to purchase copy as gift as well as for me. Given high quality of documentary being produced nowadays shameful that stores bypass selling them. Ta
16:11 15 Dec 2011
THANK YOU! God I thought it was just me. Clearly he doesn't talk like that to his friends and family, so why does he put it on for us? The words 'pretentious pillock' spring to mind. Some people just do not know how to do a voiceover and some people don't have the balls to tell them they're rubbish at it. It's like an audio book: if your voice is wrong for it, you'll make even the greatest piece of literature sound terrible.
14:02 15 Dec 2011
Annnnnnnd again, witout all those typos! What am I like?
RE: @9 zampano wrote:
"...to be honest there is a serious flaw to the whole thing: the voiceover. I really don't mean to be mean but to be perfectly honest, I found his voice and the way he speaks to be unbelievably irritating and affected…"
Sorry to say it but myself and a number of friends and colleagues completely agree. A fascinating, well researched, written and produced series rendered almost unwatchable due to Cousin's inappropriate use of his own voice -a terrible narration. He's clearly talented but a more disciplined production would have jettisoned this in favour a more involving, less dour V/O.
I'm sure the budget would have been pretty tight for this series but a cameraman might have been nice. A series on the moving image should at least be nicely shot.
It's not personal. It's just what works. Having said that, I will be giving 'The First Movie' a go as it looks genuinely great.
08:56 15 Dec 2011
Mark, thanks so much for this blog post. I remember listening to your review of "the first movie" when it came out on your radio show, and have been racking my brains for the title of it ever since!
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