Video interview with Mark Cousins talking about The TIDE Experiment
On the third year of experiments, in partnership with The Festival Agency, The TIDE Experiment launched its new scheme of “Festival-To-Date” releases, where the films are launched on festivals and Video on Demand (VoD) nearly on the same date and in several European countries. With the Festival-to-Date releases we empower some films that otherwise would have only a few lucky viewers attending the festivals. The TIDE Experiment is a European-Commission supported project committed to innovation in distribution.
The Mark Cousins Hibrow Trilogy was launched on “Festival-to-Date” combining almost simultaneously 4 top-notch European Film Festivals and VOD platforms. After 6 Desires International premiere in Sundance and Edinburgh, the whole trilogy will be available online on iTunes and Google.
“An essay film takes an idea for a walk.” Mark Cousins, well known for his series The Story of Film, three feature-length essay: Here be dragons, Life may be and 6 Desires: DH Lawrence and Sardinia, tackle diverse subjects introducing a new way of visual thinking. The art-without-walls approach of Hibrow is meant that these films are without walls. They are all essay films, the most free form movie genre, in that it can incorporate dream sequences, letters, observational filmmaking, road movie sequences, arguments, collages. All three films are about culture – film in Tirana, bodies and architecture in Iran, the literary travel writing of DH Lawrence – but, because of the open atmosphere at Hibrow (maybe it is a bit like the Factory, which makes Don Boyd Andy Warhol), their forms aren’t traditional. Life May Be is a series of cine-letters; The Lawrence film has Mussolini, Helene Cixous and Paul Cézanne in it.
By mixing his brand of wry humor and deep historic insight with Lawrence’s thoughts on fascism, masculinity, and history, Cousins again shows us the possibility of the cinematic essay in our century.
Sundance Film Festival
In 1921, DH Lawrence travelled to Sardinia to search for sun and a simpler way of living. His writing about the trip is amongst the most vivid in literature. Lawrence wanted to escape the 20th Century, but he couldn’t. Mussolini was coming and so was sickness. Mark Cousins’ innovative new film retraces Lawrence’s journey, and gets to the heart of its beauty and passion.
An engagingly freewheeling stream of consciousness film…a whole lot of heart soul in the film as well as moments of real insight. Screen International
HERE BE DRAGONS
Filmmaker Mark Cousins goes to Albania for five days, and films what he sees. He discovers that the movie prints in the country’s film archive are decaying. In investigating this, Cousins begins to encounter bigger questions about the history and memory of a place. Perhaps a country whose 20th Century, dominated by its authoritarian ruler Enver Hoxha, was so traumatic, should allow its film heritage to fade away? Perhaps a national forgetting should be welcomed? Influenced by the films of Chris Marker, Cousins’ film broadens to consider the architecture of dictators and the great icon paintings of Onufri. In the past, when cartographers knew little about a country, they wrote on it Here be Dragons. Albania was, for decades, one of the least well know countries in the world. Cousins’ road movie meditation takes the advice of Goethe: “If you would understand the poet, you must go to the poet’s land.”
Cousins and Akbari’s international exposure will ensure plentiful festival exposure for this exquisitely rarified by surprisingly accessible example of personal filmmaking. Akbari makes for an eloquent and compelling correspondent. The overall impression is of eavesdropping on two cinephile cineastes, both of them engagingly erudite and perceptive.
Neil Young, Hollywood Reporter
LIFE MAY BE
An epistolary feature film: a cinematic discourse between a British director, (Mark Cousins, the celebrated film maker and historian) and an Iranian actress and director (Mania Akbari, famed for her work with Abbas Kiarostami and in her own right as a director) which extends the concept of “essay film” with startling confrontations in the arenas of cultural issues, gender politics and differing artistic sensibilities. A unique journey into the minds of two exceptional filmmakers which becomes a love affair on film.
Available on VoD on iTunes.