THE EYES OF ORSON WELLES Directed by Mark Cousins Starring: Orson Welles, Mark Cousins, Beatrice Welles Dear Orson Welles, you left no biography, but you left something else. I went to this secure unit storage in New York and look what I find in the box, Orson: drawings, many have never been seen before; a sketchbook of your life. - Mark Cousins How can one find anything new to say about Orson Welles? Mark Cousins found the answer to his own question by discovering Welles’s talent as a sketchbook artist. Cousins had all the cinematic credentials to be the perfect investigator for making this film and bring his findings to light. He is an award-winning filmmaker and film buff extraordinaire. Known particularly for his TV documentary series Scene by Scene, 6 episodes – 1998 – 2000 and for The Story of Film: An Odyssey, a TV mini-series of 15 episodes in 2011. Welles was multi-talented and was aware of this, not to fuel his ego, but to satirise situations when needed, such as when he once addressed a sparse audience with this opening address: I paraphrase but you will get the gist of it: My name is Orson Welles. I am a writer, actor, producer, film director, magician, illusionist, conjuror, musician, artist, orator, entrepreneur, broadcaster…Strange, isn’t it? Why there are so many of me and so few of you. In this documentary, you will see many of the facets of Welles which we may not have been aware, like the famous dialogue which he wrote for his character Harry Lime in Carol Reed’s The Third Man when he is in the Ferris Wheel with Holly Martins played by Joseph Cotton. In Italy 30 years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder, bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo Da Vinci, and the Renaissance, and in Switzerland, they had brotherly love. They had 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock.
This love letter to Welles is enriched with every frame of Cousins’ passion as a cineaste. It is also a road movie with Cousins travelling 12
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