Release Date – 10th December 2021, Cert – 15, Run-time – 1 hour 34 minutes, Director – Mark Cousins
Director Mark Cousins looks back on the career and impact of producer Jeremy Thomas as the two take a road trip to the Cannes Film Festival.
Through something as simple as a road trip director Mark Cousins manages to make plenty of links with ease to the life and career of Oscar winning producer Jeremy Thomas. The two are taking a lengthy trip down to the Cannes Film Festival which sees Cousins dive through the filmography of the man he is accompanying with his own spin and interpretations on the various subjects that are covered, understandably starting early on with cars. It’s a celebration of Thomas’ work in film and his creative drive that appears to make the projects that he’s worked on so appealing and fascinating, particularly to Cousins himself; whose passion for the films at the centre of this piece, and indeed film in general, is on full display throughout – in his typical analytical style.
This is less about Jeremy Thomas himself and more about his films. Those which attempt to express his idea that “the further you get away from the centre the more creative you can be”. Clips and archive footage are used to push Cousins’ thoughts and interpretations on the work as they often come more to the fore – after all they appear to have been present for many years, as he expresses early on. It’s certainly not anything to alienate the viewer, however it does sometimes feel like a much stronger presence than the main figure of the piece and his own personal relationships to film and those which he has been a part of making – particularly in the build up to the Cannes screening of Takashi Miike’s First Love, which Thomas co-produced.
He’s a determined and interesting figure when exploring the idea of creativity and just what cinema can do. “My nature would be to go further – to see how far we can go” he claims, echoing earlier thoughts and praise for the man and his drive by an interviewed Tilda Swinton. It’s such ideas and elements that make him an engaging figure – particularly when it comes to his initially simplistic but gradually detailed and sprawling conversations with Cousins in the confines of the car. It’s much like his creative process and the films that have made up his career, expanding and exploring to show further expression.
Expressions which then form the basis of Cousins’ own personal dives and explorations as he almost works through Thomas’ career film by film – yet still in a concise 94 minute run-time. Not reaching into dissection to remove more casual viewers from the piece. It’s his passion that stops the film from dropping or feeling that it’s two separate pieces cut together. It shows in the way that the camera follows Thomas and his actions within the festival and when interacting with other people; even when demonstrating the conversations the core pairing have on their journey. It’s a, as with many of his works, personal piece for Cousins; in both his relationship with film and Thomas. It shows and makes for something interesting, although perhaps flowing best when focusing more on the central producer and his creative drive and decade-spanning impact within the film industry, even now.
While working best when focusing on Thomas himself, there’s still interest in the passionate interpretations and dives of director Mark Cousins which help to highlight a shared creativity and passion for the pair on their conversation-led journey.