Mark Kermode’s Secrets of Cinema

BBC4 in the UK has a new series in which the movie critic’s movie critic Mark Kermode deconstructs the tropes and structures of films he likes and/or admires. Each week he takes a different genre – the coming of age, science fiction, the romcom. I hope to find time to write about some of them, but why not just watch them yourself and, hour by hour, feel your brain outgrow your skull? Yep – Kermode is that clever.

Unfortunately, the BBC’s catch-up has a very short time-limit, and at the time of writing the first show only has ten days left. iPlayer also has this insulting registration system, and you’ll have to have a UK ip (or know how to spoof one) and be prepared to provide a UK postcode. I disapprove of these policies, because the nation pays for the Beeb’s programmes, and the Beeb should give their programmes back to the nation. It’s not even that there’s much commercial interest in the time-limit, since this show can’t be selling much – why not just give it to us for free, forever? (The way In Our Time is, for example). If I were a cynic – Lord forbid! – I’d suspect that these are policies deliberately designed to make the BBC irrelevant and commercially weaker. Well, whatever.

Anyhow, here’s the intro, where Kermode and the lead writer – a rather charming movie geek named Kim Newman – discuss the series. And here’s the main site, with links to the programmes if they haven’t expired by the time you read this.

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