Sharmila Tagore narrates a masterclass in film

Sharmila Tagore narrates a masterclass in film

Veteran Indian actress Sharmila Tagore joins some of the world's leading film industry greats, including Tilda Swinton, Jane Fonda and Thandie Newton, to lend her narration skills to a unique masterclass in filmmaking.

Five years in the making and running at several hours on screen,the epic documentary Women Make Film: A New Road Movie through Cinema? is being made accessible to worldwide audiences by the British Film Institute (BFI) this month. An in-depth and exhaustive exploration of the work of female filmmakers from across the decades and continents, what emerges is a 40-chapter masterclass in the art and craft of cinema.

Thematic chapters

Presented in thematic chapters, the documentary by Mark Cousins looks at how a great opening shot is done, how to frame an image, how to introduce a character, how to film sex, dance and death, how work and love are portrayed in cinema, and how the genres such as comedy, melodrama and sci-fi work.

Many famous female directors are included, but so are scores of forgotten women from every period in film history and from five continents. Women Make Film? is dubbed as a revealing eyeopener and a celebration of the art and craft of cinema.

?Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema? follows in the footsteps of Mark Cousins? The Story of Film: An Odyssey?, to give a guided tour of the art and craft of the movies. Using almost a thousand film extracts from 13 decades and five continents, Cousins asks how films are made, shot and edited; how stories are shaped and how movies depict life, love, politics, humour and death, all through the compelling lens of some of the world's greatest directors all of them women.

Sub-scenes

Something of this scale, you have to plan it carefully otherwise you would just get lost, Cousins explained about the film as it was screened at the Glasgow Film Festival earlier this year.

I chose the themes up front, those basic subject matters like tracking shots and questions like how do you film sub-scenes?

Women Make Film is now released by the BFI on Blu-ray in a four-disc set with additional features. It has also been released on BFI Player's service in five episodes one uploaded each week until June 15.

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