I’ve always enjoyed reading articles written by Mark Cousins, the Belfast-born critic, presenter and filmmaker, but this is the first documentary of his that I’ve watched. From what I can gather his films are often concerned with people and places as much as they’re concerned with the history of cinema, and his interests combine and overlap smartly here: A Story Of Children And Film is a documentary that offers insight into child psychology as well as being an illuminating examination of film technique, and Cousins is also an authoratitive and interesting narrator throughout. He uses footage of his niece and nephew to examine behavioural patterns of children, and incorporates film shot during a trip to the Isle of Skye as a jumping off point in terms of examining the imagination of kids and their many flights of fancy. However, the vast majority of the documentary is made up of footage taken from 53 films (and 25 different countries) to illustrate his points, during which Cousins commentates on the feelings of child characters as well as the use of lenses, camera angles, soundtracks, framing devices, colours, themes, staging, the proximity of actors to the camera and much, much more, all of which are techniques and ideas that depict or make us think about children in different ways. The range of films covered is diverse and shows off the director’s extensive knowledge of cinema, with well-known American works such as E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial and The Night Of The Hunter sitting next to barely-known releases that look every bit as fascinating, such as Erkki Karu’s Finlandia and Karel Kachyna’s Long Live The Republic. Cousins’ ideas are clearly-presented and well thought out, his infectious enthusiasm makes this a joy to watch, and I guarantee that anyone who watches it will benefit from the man’s deep understanding of cinema.

Directed by: Mark Cousins.
Written by: Mark Cousins.
Cinematography: Marc Bénoliel.
Editing: Timo Langer.
Running Time:
106 minutes.

3 Responses to “0578 | A Story Of Children And Film”

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