Debuting at Cannes to impressive acclaim, Mark Cousins’ latest cinematic odyssey gathers a mosaic of remarkable clips from 53 films to create a unique portrait of childhood in cinema.

Using simple contemporary footage of his nephew and niece, Cousins explores elements of childhood personality and experience in films from almost eighty years of cinema. He notes the initial wariness, for example, of his niece Laura towards the camera, and uses her facial expression as a starting point to study that same look as it appears in films as diverse as Spielberg’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Ozu’s An Inn in Tokyo.

And while Cousins’ reflections are endlessly fascinating as he dances from class and the changing social politics of the Soviet Union to the volcanic temperaments of children in Iranian film, what is perhaps most impressive is that he manages to remain eye to eye with the children he features, bringing us into their world. What results is perhaps Cousins’ most beguiling film to date and a fitting follow up to the epic The Story of Film.

Ross Whitaker

‘entirely distinctive, sometimes eccentric, always brilliant ... this film is a treat’
The Guardian

‘an idiosyncratically personal yet captivating companion piece to The Story of Film’