Introducing Mark Kermode’s Secrets of Cinema, a five-part series on BBC four exploring a personal guide to cinema told through some of the most iconic films of all time including rom-coms, heist movies, horror films and more. Mark passionately delves into the world of cinema as he examines a wide range of genres, film structure and unravels the mystery of what makes a certain genre resonate with its audience.
In the first episode of the series, we explore the world of the Rom-Com as we hop into our DeLorean and travel through the history of cinema. We explore key segments from When Harry Met Sally and Love Actually in addition to learning about act structure and ‘meet cutes’. Mark never drones on too long to make even my least favorite genre boring, he keeps it short and sweet but at the same time highly absorbent as the information sinks in with little effort or explanation needed.
Throughout the series, it’s clear to see why Mark is at the top of his field. I will never class myself as a film critic, I will always and forever be a fan and it’s nice to see that even such highly esteemed as Mark is as a critic he still shares a real ‘fan’ love of cinema. It’s rather refreshing to see and this deep love of cinema projects incredibly well throughout.
Each episode is sewn together through a 60-minute runtime but I can’t help but feel we’re only scratching the surface. It feels very much like a presentation rather than an exploration of film and it would have been nice to have Mark be hands-on in terms of the material being shown here. A few insider interviews, on-set antics, studio tours, and flashbacks. Anything that takes the series outside of a simple show and tell and gives the viewer something different to explore.
Throughout 60-minutes of discussing film structure and how perfectly filmmakers stitch together the scenes from script to make a feature it seems as thou the same care and dedication to this craft has been neglected in terms of this particular show. That’s not to say it isn’t good, it is, and as a film fanatic I thoroughly enjoyed it but for those less enthusiastic about films I can feel people getting a little fed up with the simplistic ‘show and tell’ format.
For a die-hard film fanatic, Mark Kermode’s Secrets of Cinema has it all. Whilst the show is aimed at a very niche dedicated market it’s still well worth watching for someone like myself who is highly obsessed with all things movies.