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The Eyes of Orson Welles Image

The Eyes of Orson Welles


The estimably knowledgeable film-critic-turned-filmmaker Mark Cousins (The Story of Film) has made a quirky, loving and deeply felt portrait of the legendary Orson Welles that is sure to delight cinephiles and casual filmgoers alike. The eyes of the title are found in a photo of the young Welles, who looks directly into the lens, wide-eyed, intense, and possibly afraid of what he envisions: landscapes, dreams and possibilities that no one else but him can see. Cousins, who is such a fan that he has Welles’ signature tattooed on his arm, refers back to this photo repeatedly as he connects Welles’ lifelong love of painting and drawing to his filmmaking through an astute and revealing use of clips and archival images. By going where no filmmaker has gone before when considering Welles’ art and legacy, Cousins manages the most difficult of tasks: in the words of one critic, his film "looks deep into the soul of an artist."

Playful, profound, and as daringly iconoclastic as its subject, The Eyes of Orson Welles is a one-of-a-kind work of visual archaeology, a fresh way of looking at a cinematic giant whose singular worldview—fiercely humanist, defiantly antiauthoritarian—resonates now more urgently than ever.

"Cousins’ film is revelatory, exposing a wry, playful, angry, often lovestruck man behind the Hollywood legend… Viewers familiar with Cousins’ work will know to expect not a fact-seeking academic analysis but an interpretive, intuitive, often playful rumination, with Cousins acting less as teacher than as curious, good-humoured tour guide—alongside Beatrice Welles, the great man’s youngest daughter and estate guardian, balancing speculation with spiky, drily funny first-hand insight." Guy Lodge, Guardian

"Cousins is smart, passionate and searching to the extent that he has more than earned the right to experiment. His sharing of his immediate experience of Welles is very likely to enrich your own." Glenn Kenny, New York Times

"Genuinely eye opening… an extraordinary, singular, complex take on a man whose work still inspires rhapsodies and close readings." David Fear, Rolling Stone

Director Icon Director
Mark Cousins

Mark Cousins, Beatrice Welles
Source Janus Films
UK 2018 115 min. English 19+ Official Website | Trailer | Review | Q&A


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