A Story of Children and Film

June 10, 2014 No Comments

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Haunting. Poetic. Mesmerizing. Brilliant.  Intimate.

Mark Cousin’s remarkable cine- essay captures the essence of childhood as viewed through the lenses of 53 filmmakers from 23 countries.  The film circulated successfully through the film festival circuit last year  and was featured last weekend at the Detroit Cinetopia festival.  If you missed it, don’t worry, but don’t delay in placing your order from Amazon where it goes on sale this month.

Cousins possesses the uncanny ability to approach a broadly universal topic with very personal touches.  His comprehension of childhood shyness, loneliness, aggression and dreaming unfolds in classic film clips as varied as ET, The Night of the Hunter, The White Balloon, The Red Balloon, Great Expectations, Spirit of the Beehive, Los Olvidados, Kes, Meet Me in St. Louis, 400 Blows and The Kid.  Then, he sweetens the film with clips from more obscure (at least to English-speaking audiences) gems from Japan, Iran, China, Albania, Russia, Sweden and an unbelievably touching scene from the Senegalese “The Little Girl Who Sold the Sun”  and the Danish treasure “Palle Alone in the World”.  He also organizes his film with bookend scenes using his own niece and nephew (Laura and Ben), blurring the ever-blurry line between documentary and fiction.  Vincent Van Gogh also makes several cameo appearances.   Cousin’s filmmaker’s eye for beauty and appreciation for the magic in “little things” perfuse the entire film with magic.

Verbal descriptions of this film see hyperbolic and start to sound redundant.  Until you see it.   I fell in love with the film when I saw it last year in Toronto, felt privileged to see it again this past weekend and have already ordered it to watch it again (as soon as my Region 2 DVD player arrives).

Those already familiar with Cousin’s extensive (and beautiful) 15 hour journey through the Story of Film: An Odysssey (2012) will recognize his unique approach to the movies.

Thank you Mark Cousins.

Jolyn Wagner

Must See Movie of the Week

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