Last night in the mountains of Telluride, Colorado, I sat in the little Nugget Theater for the first two hours of Mark Cousins’ epic documentary about the origins of film, as a medium, a cultural language and a mode of visual thought. This patchwork of clips is mind-expanding, occasionally pedantic yet always surprising, seeking to express the history of cinema through cinema. It poetically explores the early days of cinema to the more recent works of Scorsese and Spielberg. Narrated by Cousins’ lyrical, precise Northern Irish accent, we are transported into the luminous footage of the early works of Edison and Lumiere, intercut with juxtapositions – poetic, relevant and occasionally disorienting images from Hollywood, cities and nature. At this thin-air altitude, it was a heady, inspiring experience to pull me in to the meditative, carefully curated ambiance of this jewel of American film festivals. Tilda Swinton, sitting a few rows behind me, walked directly up to the filmmaker after the Q&A to offer her warm congratulations. Up next, my review of The Artist.
A great interview with Mark Cousins here.