Start the Show: Rick Staehling on the Art of the Opening Sequence

(Canada, 80 mins)


When a movie begins anything and everything is possible. It is the magical moment when a movie-goer’s anticipation and a movie-maker’s promise first meet. An opening doesn’t have to sell the movie—trailers do that—but it does thrill, soothe, explain or seduce. It introduces the ideas, attitude and mood of the film that follows. And it usually makes you eager to know what happens next.

Curated and presented by veteran CBC film critic Rick Staehling, Start the Show examines the evolution of the opening sequence from the charming, hand-painted title card for The Great Train Robbery (1903), through Sergio Leone’s audacious Once Upon a Time in the West to the outrageous opening credits for director Gaspar Noé’s Irreversible (2002) and the confounding first three minutes of Bong Joon-ho’s Mother (2009). You will meet the unsung innovators who changed how films begin, the big-name directors who control even the first frames of their films, and see a variety of openings—some as famous as the movies they introduce.