A Story of Children and Film
Anyone who thinks that formal film analysis is in counter position to empathy, who believes that attention to the aesthetic is diverted away from the stories played out on the screen, should go and see this film – it proves the opposite, and unpretentiously so. Only rarely do ‘the how’ and ‘the what’ appear so dialectically in the meta-film as in Mark Cousins’ personal yet factually grounded essay about the representation of childhood in film. It opens with Vincent van Gogh and his niece – and then you are swept along on a journey through the great moments in film history, full of associations, in which Albanian productions sit side by side with Hollywood-blockbusters like E.T. The childlike gaze also directs our eyes, now fully sensitised to the microcosms of everyday life. It is a passionate, poetic portrait of the adventure of childhood and of film – surrealism, loneliness, fun, destructive rage and awkwardness seen in 53 selected films from 25 countries.
Mark Cousins is an Irish director and occasional presenter/critic on film. He interviewed famous filmmakers such as David Lynch, Martin Scorsese and Roman Polanski in the TV series Scene by Scene. In 2009, Cousins and actress/director Tilda Swinton created a project where they mounted a 33.5-tonne portable cinema on a large truck and hauled it manually through the Scottish Highlands. The result was a travelling independent film festival which was featured prominently in a documentary called Cinema is Everywhere. His 2011 film The Story of Film: An Odyssey was broadcast as 15 one-hour television episodes on More4 and presented at many international film festivals including Berlinale.