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Mark Cousins (born 3 May 1965) is a director and occasional presenter/critic on film. A prolific producer and director, he is best known for his 15-hour 2011 documentary The Story of Film: An Odyssey.
Cousins interviewed famous filmmakers such as David Lynch, Martin Scorsese and Roman Polanski in the TV series Scene by Scene. He presented the BBC cult film series Moviedrome from June 1997 to July 2000. He introduced 66 films for the show, including the little-seen Nicolas Roeg film Eureka.
In 2009, Cousins and actress/director Tilda Swinton created a project where they mounted a 33.5-tonne portable cinema on a large truck which was physically pulled through the Scottish Highlands. The traveling independent film festival was featured prominently in a documentary called Cinema is Everywhere. The festival was repeated in 2011.
After The Story of Film, Cousins's next project was intentionally a small-scale work: What Is This Film Called Love? is a self-photographed diary of his three-day walk around Mexico City, accompanied by his imagined conversation with a photo of Sergei Eisenstein and reviewed as "fatuous" by Variety. Another low-budget, quickly produced documentary, Here Be Dragons, covers a short film-watching trip he made to Albania and was also poorly received as indulgent and "random".6 Desires: DH Lawrence and Sardinia is structured around an imagined letter from Cousins to the author D. H. Lawrence, who wrote about a 1921 visit to Sardinia.Life May Be was a collaboration with Iranian director and actor Mania Akbari, again making use of Cousins's familiar structural devices of letters, travel imagery, and voiceover commentary, judged "self-advertisement".
A Story of Children and Film was better received. Its origins lay in some footage he shot of his niece and nephew at play, and grew into a documentary about the representation of children in cinema.
Cousins subsequently produced I Am Belfast, in which the city is personified by a 10,000-year-old woman. Portions of the film in progress, with a score by Belfast composer David Holmes were screened at the 2014 Belfast Film Festival. He is also working on a three-hour addendum to The Story of Film, on the subject of documentaries, entitled Dear John Grierson.
^Guy Lodge, "Review: 'What Is This Film Called Love?'", Variety, 2 July 2012. ("Sprite-like Irish film critic, historian and documaker Mark Cousins has done many commendable things to honor the medium he loves so deeply -- notably last year's "The Story of Film" -- but his fatuous vanity project "What Is This Film Called Love?" is not among them."
^Stephen Dalton, "Here Be Dragons: London Review", The Hollywood Reporter, 17 October 2013. ("Shot last year during a short working holiday in Albania, this free-associating documentary initially promises to illuminate a mysterious Balkan backwater rarely seen on screen. Instead, it reveals rather too much about its author, his brainy reading habits, his airline meals, and his random thoughts on culture and politics.")
^Peter Bradshaw, "Cannes 2013: A Story of Children and Film - review", The Guardian, 4 April 2013. (". . . one of the most beguiling events at Cannes, appropriately presented in the Cannes Classics section. Mark Cousins's personal cine-essay about children on film is entirely distinctive, sometimes eccentric, always brilliant: a mosaic of clips, images and moments chosen with flair and grace, both from familiar sources and from the neglected riches of cinema around the world.")