Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Mark Cousins ‘The Story of Looking’ | Sheffield Doc/Fest Review

Following his 2017 book with the same title, Mark Cousins attempts to discover what goes on in our minds when we look at the world

It’s not easy to talk about The Story of Looking, an extremely personal journey directed by Mark Cousins, whose past credits include The Eyes of Orson Welles and Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema.

It is in a place of deep intimacy, his bed, that Cousins ​welcomes us, sharing in a poetic way how ​​he discovered that he had a serious problem in his eyes, a huge cataract that started blurring his vision. That experience for someone whose life is surrounded by real and constructed images, both on and off screen, takes him on a journey to ponder about life, relationships, history, art, science, technology and even the perception of the smallest and cryptic things, like the man on a roof that he shows us and that fascinates him as much as it frightens.

Movement, which defines and shapes our lives, becomes an obsession, an object of meditation rather than analysis, with Cousins conducting us between ideias, thoughts and images, exploring the role of visual experience in our individual and collective lives.

Quite frequently there are moments of pure poetry in this The Story of Looking, with images flooding the screen and assaulting our senses, making our hearts beat faster and faster when we turn Mark’s perspective to ourselves; like watching a movie on screen and creating another one in our heads, where we are confronted with the same inquisitive thoughts.

In this quest about what goes on in our minds when we look at the world, Cousins never leaves the sphere of intimacy, building somehow an inquisitive journal that slowly leads us to a hecatomb of emotions, showing his poetic and curious soul in all his fragility.

And that fragility increases when the pandemic appears, changing again and again our perception of the world and what we are seeing and living. An absolute must-see.


Jorge Pereira

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