The Story of Film with Mark Cousins at the Plaza



The Irish-Scottish director Mark Cousins revisits the history of cinema through an odyssey of several dozen hours of great storytelling about cinema.

After the success of the “The Clock” by the American-Swiss artist Christian Marclay shown in 2021, Le Plaza is thrilled to present the amazing work of Mark Cousins in the picturesque spaces of Geneva’s historic theatre. Thousands of film extracts make up a poetic and surprising fresco, a fascinating and enlightened journey that goes from the birth of the cinema to contemporary images across all continents.

Projections en continu

From 18 March to 3 April

Wednesday – Friday from 17:00 to 23:00
Saturday – Sunday from 13:30 to 23:00

Free entry

(Friday 18 March and Saturday 2 April – event by reservation.)


Tanaka Kinuyo

Mark Cousins

Special event 1

Friday 18 March at 7pm

Special public screening
with director Mark Cousins

Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema, Mark Cousins (UK, 840’, 2018)
With the collaboration of Tilda Swinton, Jane Fonda, Adjoa Andoh, Thandie Newton, Kerry Fox, Sharmila Tagore and Debra Winger

Free entry by reservation (first come first served)

Evening program

Doors open

Screening in the Grande Salle

8.30 pm
Entracte: risotto and talk with Mark Cousins

9.15 pm
Film screening

Tanaka Kinuyo

Archive : Carole Roussopoulos

Special event 2

Saturday 2 April at 5pm

Round table discussion on “Female Gaze”, the female gaze in cinema

Evening program

Welcome and presentation

Extract of Ciné-journal au féminin by Lucienne Lanaz, Anne Cunéo, Erich Liebi, Urs Bolliger (CH, 78′, 1979, VF)

Round table (in french)

diner cocktail

Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through , Mark Cousins (part 3)

The Story of Film: An Odyssey by Mark Cousins (UK, 915′, 2011, VOAngl and VF) – 15 x 60 minutes

The Story of Film: An Odyssey is a true love letter to cinema, which he recounts with more than 800 extracts and fifteen hours of film. His unique approach to the evolution of the art of film shows how filmmakers are influenced both by the historical events of their time and by each other. It is a guided tour of the greatest films ever made, an epic that begins in the cinema and ends in a multi-billion-dollar global digital industry.

Filmed in key locations in the history of cinema on every continent, from Thomas Edison’s laboratory in New Jersey to Hitchcock’s London, from post-war Rome to the thriving industry of modern-day Mumbai, this historical documentary is filled with clips from the greatest films ever made and features interviews with legendary filmmakers and actors.

Gus Van Sant

Tilda Swinton and Kira Muratova

Jacqueline Audry

Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema de Mark Cousins (UK, 840′, 2018, VOAngl) – 5 x 168 minutes

A dizzying journey through the history of cinema as seen through the eyes of the greatest female directors. Our guides are Tilda Swinton, Jane Fonda, Debra Winger, Adjoa Andoh, Kerry Fox, Thandie Newton and Sharmila Tagore. Love, life, humour, politics and death are all explored in this road movie. Mark Cousins travels through the history of cinema, showing excerpts from films by women directors, most of whom have not yet been revealed to the general public.

The Story of Film: A New Generation by Mark Cousins (UK, 160′, 2021, VOAngl STfra)

Highlighting the most powerful cinema sequences of the last decade, filmmaker Mark Cousins updates his classic The Story of Film. Covering the period from 2010 to 2021, Cousins tells an epic and hopeful story of cinematic innovation around the world, while helping to discover new ways of seeing and being in our eclectic and voluminous digital age.

Mark Cousins

The Story of Looking by Mark Cousins (UK, 90′, 2021, VOAngl)

As he prepares for cataract surgery to restore his visual acuity, Mark Cousins explores the role that visual experience plays in our individual and collective lives. In a deeply personal meditation on the power of the eye in one’s own life, he guides us through the riches of the visible world, offering us a kaleidoscope of extraordinary images across cultures and time.

Mark Cousins is a Northern Irish and Scottish filmmaker and screenwriter. Early in his career he made television documentaries about childhood, neo-Nazism and military training. In the mid-1990s, with the Edinburgh International Film Festival, he screened films in Sarajevo in defiance of the city’s siege. His films – including The First Movie, The Story of Film: An Odyssey, What is This Film Called Love?, Life May Be, A Story of Children and Film, Atomic, Stockholm My Love, The Eyes of Orson Welles, Women Make Film: A New Road Movie Through Cinema, The Story of Looking and The Story of Film: A New Generation – have all premiered at the Cannes, Berlin, Sundance and Venice Film Festivals and have won numerous awards including the Prix Italia, a Peabody and the Stanley Kubrick Award.

Cousins has worked in Iraq, Sarajevo during the siege, Iran, and throughout Asia, America and Europe. He has also published the books Imagining Reality: The Faber Book of Documentary, The Story of Film and The Story of Looking, which are distributed worldwide. He also writes for the magazines Sight & Sound and Filmkrant. Cousins has collaborated with Tilda Swinton on innovative film events to raise the profile of cinema in several cities. He is chairman of the Belfast Film Festival, patron of the Edinburgh International Film Festival and a board member of Michael Moore’s Traverse City Film Festival. He is an Honorary Professor of Film at the University of Glasgow and has received honorary doctorates from the universities of Edinburgh and Stirling.