Sign up for Sight & Sound’s Weekly Film Bulletin and more
News, reviews and archive features every Friday, and information about our latest magazine once a month.
Mark Cousins may have released three documentaries last year (The Story of Looking, The Story of Film: A New Generation and The Storms of Jeremy Thomas) but he still found time during Covid lockdowns to embark on a separate cinephile project: watching the entirety of Alfred Hitchcock’s filmography in order. Now, Sight and Sound is exclusively able to reveal that Cousins’s next documentary project has Hitch as its star and will be titled My Name Is Alfred Hitchcock.
Speaking to S&S over the phone from Italy, Cousins introduced the project, which promises to take its own unique angle on the ‘Master of Suspense’: “There have been scores of films about Hitchcock… but I think that ours has something new to say. Some of the themes that recur in Hitchcock [are] the ideas of stardom, of gender, of suspense. We don’t look at any of those. It’s a contemporary look at Hitchcock and we’re looking at other themes, like loneliness and fulfilment,” he explained.
Cousins is keen to keep us in suspense too: “I don’t think I can tell you what it is, but we’re using a very unexpected technique to look into Hitchcock’s films. The title of the film might help you guess what technique we use, but I’m going to be slightly mysterious about it. I think people will be surprised by the technique, but then once they’re used to it, it will be revealing.”
Despite Cousins’s secretive stance, he was willing to give a few key details about My Name Is Alfred Hitchcock, the runtime of which is “exactly two hours long”. One key collaborator on the film is Donna McKevitt, the composer who began her film career working with Derek Jarman and recently scored Cousins’s The Story of Looking. “She has made a really considerable contribution to [the film] creatively,” says Cousins, with a score that steers well clear of Bernard Herrmann’s collaborations with Hitchcock.
The style of graphics used in My Name Is Alfred Hitchcock similarly avoids becoming a pastiche of Hitchcock’s films: “It was very tempting to go for the kind of Saul Bass type look,” explains Cousins, “but in the end we avoided that, because this film needed to feel new.”
Represented by Dogwoof Sales, with whom Cousins is collaborating for the sixth time, My Name Is Alfred Hitchcock (which is “completely finished”, per Cousins) is expected to be released late this year or early next year, following a festival run.
More by Mark Cousins
The director’s chair: Mark Cousins
By Mark Cousins
Mark Cousins on Sarajevo’s Obala cinema and watching films in a war zone
By Mark Cousins