Running Time: 104 minutes.
Synopsis: A journey mapping the representation of children on film.
From Elliott’s careful fascination in E.T. THE EXTRA-TERRESTRIAL to a young girl desperate to buy goldfish in THE WHITE BALLOON, A STORY OF CHILDREN AND FILM guides you through every aspect of childhood, be it happy or sad. Moving, funny and thoroughly entertaining, it will leave you hungry to seek out all the films contained within.
From 1949’s PALLE ALONE IN THE WORLD to 2012’s MOONRISE KINGDOM, Cousins covers a lot of ground in 104 minutes. Taking pride in noticing things that may go under the radar for many, the audience learn to recognise certain film techniques and national quirks along the way, making it a vital documentary for furthering cinematic knowledge. The director’s dreamy tones lovingly enshroud the youthful exuberance and tantrums, never impeding our education. His narration informs and compliments, continuously passionate and edifying; exactly what you’d expect from the Northern Irish filmmaker.
Cousins’ young niece and nephew serve as a nifty framing device to this comprehensive guide. While they play with marbles, argue and showoff in front of their uncle’s camera, parallels in their behaviour are found in films everywhere from Burkina Faso to Iran, America to Denmark. Separate chapters are marked by the progression of his young relatives in front of the camera, with no section rising above the other when every portion is full of such wonder and fascination.
But it’s not all sweetness and light, with social class and imperfection just as important as baby birds and trips to the moon. There is great delight to be taken from the infectious curiosity of two blind Czech boys, Cousins gleaning happiness from the darkest of places, and for every Shirley Temple there is an angry child throwing eggs at the camera in defiant protest.
Transcendent and essential, Mark Cousins’ A STORY OF CHILDREN AND FILM is a glorious celebration of children on celluloid. A documentary for people who love film, it encapsulates multiple aspects of childhood in an in-depth manner while always remaining accessible. An outstanding journey of storytelling within storytelling, this remarkable film perfectly emphasises how movies are like children, and children are like movies.