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A Story of Children and Film

Mark Cousins
UK 2013 / 101’

Looking at small things lets you see a lot, is one of the themes underpinning Mark Cousins’ impressive video essay. Cousins, a cinematic archaeologist and film critic who became a director, investigates what the youngest muse has to say about children. He seeks answers not only in Hollywood films, which do offer a range of examples (especially those by Spielberg), nor does he stop at art or European cinema. His cinephilism forces him to review the cinema of 25 countries and over 50 directors including films even veritable connoisseurs may have overlooked. The starting point of this odyssey is Van Gogh’s painting and a single shot of the director’s nephews’ morning playtime. This diptych alone illustrates his very subjective and often surprising associations. The narrator (i.e. the director) revisits singing Shirley Temple, Dorota Kędzierzawska’s The Crows, the movies of Wes Anderson and Finnish cinema of the 1920s. From pillow fights and great adventures to dominating loneliness – the association is in the eye of the beholder, however small.

Kaja Klimek

Mark Cousins

Irish writer, reporter, director and globetrotter Mark Cousins is the author of reportages and documentary films, a university lecturer, host of a television programme about film and, for many years, the artistic director of the Edinburgh Film Festival. In 2009, together with Tilda Swinton, he organised a traveling cinema. The Story of Film: An Odyssey, a 15-hour film based on his book by the same title, became a global festival hit.

Selected filmography

1994 I Know Where I’m Going! Revisited (TV, doc.)

2005 Cinema Iran (TV, doc.)

2008 First Impressions (video, doc., short)

2009 The First Movie (doc.)

2011 The Story of Film – odyseja filmowa / The Story of Film: An Odyssey (TV, doc.)

2012 O czym jest ten film o miłości? / What Is This Film Called Love? (doc.)

2013 Opowieść o dzieciach i filmie / A Story of Children and Film (doc.)

Cast & Crew

director Mark Cousins
screenplay Mark Cousins
cinematography Mark Cousins, Marc Benoliel
editing Timo Langer
music Olvier Messiaen, Aljoscha Zimmermann
sound Ali Murray
producer Mary Bell, Adam Dawtrey
production BFI, FILM 4, BofA Productions
sales Hanway
language English
colouration colour