The Eyes of Orson Welles
Like his great contemporaries Eisenstein, Cocteau and Fellini, Orson Welles could be said to have ‘thought with his eyes’. From the earliest age, crayon and paintbrush were never far from his hand. As well as being a magician of all aspects of theatre and film design, Welles was a sharp-penned caricaturist who decorated letters, diaries and Christmas cards with maliciously witty portraits of contemporaries.
Mark Cousins loves this visual aspect of his artistic expression and brings it out with ease in a fascinating new film about the director, which, for the first time, accesses archive material inherited by Welles’ daughter Beatrice. It is not a conventional documentary. There are no talking heads or artfully staged interviews. Instead, somewhat in the manner of the late Chris Marker, the movie is addressed to the director as a sort of letter from the present, wondering out loud how Welles would have expressed himself today
With a quizzical look, "The Eyes of Orson Welles" re-visits the European and American landscapes that Welles knew so well, from Italy and Spain to California and Arizona. Connections are made across the decades. ‘His’ world and ‘our’ world are delicately brought into dialogue with each other.
Mark Cousins is a Northern Irish filmmaker and writer who lives in Edinburgh. His work as a direc-tor includes "The Story of Film: An Odyssey", an epic 15-hour documentary which won a Peabody Award and the Stanley Kubrick Award, "A Story of Children and Film", a feature doc which world premiered in Cannes and shown at DOKUARTS (2014), "I Am Belfast", a lyrical essay film about his home town, and his fiction debut "Stockholm My Love", a grief musical starring and with music by Neneh Cherry. His latest book "The Story of Looking" was published in the UK by Canongate in 2017.