Mark Cousins

EIFF 2013

The longest running film festival in the world, The Edinburgh International Film Festival, finally kicks off this week.


Artistic director Chris Fujiwara delivers his second year, with a program that promises rich pickings. With 125 new features showing, the festivals boasts some big names; Sofia Coppola returns with The Bling Ring, a portrayal of celebrity-obsessed youth culture (based on the real-life story of a group of teenagers robbing Hollywood homes), Noah Baumbach builds on the wonderful The Squid and The Whale with Frances Ha, a bitter sweet comedy about a young New Yorker who is forced to review her lofty career ambitions.

There is also plenty of room for home-grown films: Edinburgh-based film-maker and critic Mark Cousins is back with A Story of Children and Film, a playful cine-essay on the relationship between childhood and the seventh art; Transgressive North's artistic director Jamie Chambers makes his debut with Blackbird, a captivating tale of belonging and loss set in a small village in the South West of Scotland.

As always, there are also intriguing retrospectives. This year the EIFF celebrates the work of neglected French director Jean Grémillont; audiences will also get the chance to re-discover the diverse ouvre of Brooklyn-born Richard Fleischer (Tora! Tora! Tora!, 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea).


The 67th Edinburgh International Film Festival runs from 19th to 30th June.  Tickets are on sale now. The festival brochure is available here.


Mark Cousins' 'What Is This Film Called Love?' + Q&A at the Filmhouse this Thursday

It’s important to take a breather after the stress and strain of a ‘big job’ - even a prolific workaholic like Jean-Luc Godard decided he needed to work on a smaller project after the the challenge of working on the big budget Cinemascope epic that was Le Mépris.

Mark Cousins may not appear to have much in common with Godard, but like the Swiss director, he completed a mammoth  (15 and ½ hours long, and 6 years in the making) guided tour the history of cinema, the superlative The Story of Film: An Odyssey. Passionate, always engaging and clearly in love with the seventh art, Cousins is a rarity amongst modern-day film critics.


His latest work, What Is This Film Called Love?, was ‘made for £ 5.80’ and shot over 3 days in Mexico. A meditation on the nature of happiness, it seems like a very personal film - a world away from the academic approach of The Story of Film (Cousins himself noted that he never used the word “I” in the commentary). It also features music by Blasted favourites PJ Harvey and Bernard Hermann.

You could do much worse then get down to Edinburgh’s Filmhouse on Thursday at 18.15 and see it for yourself, and maybe even ask the man himself a few questions.

You can read more about What Is This Film Called Love? here, and you can also follow Mr Cousins on Twitter.