To say Mark Cousins loves film would be an understatement, to say the least. The former host of Moviedrome went on to create the definitive history of film in The Story of Film: An Odyssey, along with several other documentaries focusing on cinema. The Northern Irish filmmaker is also highly curious and inquisitive. Many of his smaller films have been very personal obsessions. That is certainly the case with The Story of Looking.
Mark is having problems with his vision. Things are a trifle blurry and he needs surgery to restore the eyesight in his left eye. As the day approaches, he is becoming increasingly anxious and begins to contemplate the role of the visual experience in our lives. This leads him to undertakes a personal journey, going back from the beginning of his life to consider how his experiences have been driven and shaped by perception, observation and sight.
It’s always a joy to listen to Mark Cousins lyrical drawl and The Story of Looking is no exception. We’re taken on a typically offbeat journey through the (often random collection of) thoughts occupying his head. Illustrated (unsurprisingly) by clips from films along the way. Whilst it’s always fascinating and he raises a number of interesting points and questions, it does feel like the premise is stretched to the absolute limit.
The Story of Looking screens at Sheffield Doc/Fest.