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EIFF – What Is This Film Called Love?

Dear Mr Mark Cousins,

I want to tell you about your new film, What Is This Film Called Love? I want to tell you how it made me feel. How it made me feel brave and hopeful. How it reminded me everything I have is impermanent. How at moments it was transcendent. You talked about ecstasy often during the film. How to be ecstatic was to experience ex-stasis – leaving your status, being on the move. I feel mobilised now. Your film made me feel ecstatic.

But I suppose I shouldn’t just credit it all to you, though. I should thank Mexico, where you journeyed. And Eisenstein, who you talked to as you walked around the city, pointing me to things I never would have noticed, teaching me about non-indifferent nature. And Polly Jean Harvey, for the beautiful songs she gave to the soundtrack, and Bernard Hermann too. I’d forgotten what a gasping swoon the Vertigo soundtrack is. I’d thank the woman with the lilting voice who narrated alongside you, the one you said had more insight than you, but I don’t know her name. You know who I mean.

In your 15 hour opus, The Story of Film, Mr Mark Cousins, you reminded me to look, to think when I’m watching a movie. So often watching films can be a passive experience but you remind me it can and should be active. Tonight, watching What Is This Thing Called Love, you reminded me to look, to think, when I’m not in a cinema too. That life can and should be active. It seems so obvious. You let me see the world through your eyes for a while, which are at once impishly childish and idiosyncratically wise. And then you popped your willy out too. Fair play.

Thank you for your film, Mr Mark Cousins. It made my heart swell.


Katrina Conaglen,

The Red Curtain.


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