1 May 2004 | Cineanalyst
Interesting Program Marred by Ugly Score
Via Channel 4 and the French Ministry of Culture, Noël Burch answered the self-imposed question (the title of the television series) in six half-hour parts. Burch concentrated his discussion on the relationship between society and film, which was interesting--a deviation from the usual discussion of artistic merits and innovations. Nevertheless, Annick Nozati mars the program with an ugly original musical score. At times, I would have stopped watching if I wasn't certain Burch had something else to teach me. The score is some newfangled mess of quickened commotion, mechanical sounds and other sound effects that irritated me.
Each part of the series is about a different period of cinema in a different nation during the silent era. Britain, America, Denmark, France, Germany and the Soviet Union are covered. Four reoccurring social issues that Burch concentrated on were: the relationship between films and the classes, alcoholism and temperance, the treatment of women and races and, broadly, the politics and attitudes of the times. Besides some irrelevant material, occasionally poor presentation and an awful score, the series was, overall, informative and interesting.