Mark Cousins is arguably the most erudite cinema essayist working today and cineastes will learn a lot from watching his latest film about the works of the master, Alfred Hitchcock. With minute detail and deep knowledge of how Hitchock's films were constructed (lighting, mise en scene, framing, direction) Cousins gives us new insights into Hitchcock's art. He does this my chossing six themes - escape, desire, loneliness, time, fulfilment and height - and then taking scenes from Hitchock's work and explaining the throughline, whether from the early British black and white films or the later big budget American colour films. My only issue with Cousins' documentary - though it is a big one - is that rather than simply narrating the film himself, as Cousins' did with his epic STORY OF CINEMA, he chooses to deliver his analysis from the imagined point of view of Hitchcock himself, as voiced by the impersonator Alastair McGowan. I found this really distracting, maybe partly because Hitchcock had such a particular (and not particularly clear) way of speaking. I would far rather Cousins shed the pretense that he can see into the minds of these auteurs (he did something similar with Welles). First-rate film criticism is enough. It doesn't need any bells and whistles or imaginative leaps.
MY NAME IS ALFRED HITCHCOCK has a running time of 120 minutes. It played Telluride 2022 and is on limited release in UK cinemas and is available to rent at home.