As its mimetic title might indicate, A Story of Children and Film plays more like an appendix to Mark Cousins’ encyclopaedic The Story of Film than a fresh project. It’s a welcome added chapter, shrugging off historiography in order to thematically dart from country to country, decade to decade, examining cinema’s many depictions of childhood with characteristically contemplative insight.
Neither confined to nor wary of obvious or mainstream examples, Cousins shuffles his cine-deck to find the connections between, for instance, US blockbusters and 30s Japanese cinema (E.T. and Children in the Wind, respectively), or the ways in which Tom and Jerry cartoons and the early work of Lynne Ramsay both use the frame to block out the adult world. With excerpts from 53 films squeezed into 104 curatorial minutes, some readings inevitably cry out for further elaboration (particularly when discussing more obscure or harder-to-obtain selections), but such frustrations are rare; for the most part, this side-odyssey is a stimulating and perspective-broadening experience. [Chris Buckle]
A Story of Children and Film is released 4 Apr by Dogwoof
A season of 17 films curated by Mark Cousins called Cinema of Childhood launches at Filmhouse in Edinburgh and BFI Southbank in London on 11 Apr, and will tour other cities across the UKhttp://dogwoof.com/childrenandfilm