Mark Cousins outlines his Ecstasis takeover as part of macrobert's THAT Festival

Mark Cousins outlines his Ecstasis takeover as part of macrobert's THAT Festival

As the macrobert prepares to host four-day multi-arts festival THAT, filmmaker and curator Mark Cousins reveals the inspiration behind his selection of films for the event

You fall in love with movies more than once. At the age of 18, I saw Chen Kaige’s Yellow Earth at the macrobert centre in Stirling, where I was a student, and fell head over heels. It was about a Chinese girl longing to be someone else. Last month, when the macrobert asked me to guest curate a part of their THAT Festival, I immediately thought that my theme should be that longing.

I’d been thinking about it for months, to be honest. I’d just made a film in Mexico about Soviet director Sergei Eisenstein’s idea of ecstasis, getting out of your stasis, losing yourself. Ecstasis for me is everywhere, in the music of Bowie, the styling of Madonna, the writing of Ovid and Virginia Woolf, the endorphins of athletes, the films of Antonioni and Jodorowsky. It’s why I dance, travel, booze and go to gigs. It’s what The List magazine is about.

So I’ve chosen some films about the rapture of self-loss – impolite, dreamy, Dionysian films. When we were students, the macbob seemed a bit foostie (it’s not now), so the films will put a rocket up the bum of foostieness. And other artists are doing work on the theme – theatre, installations, parties. And people are invited to submit short films about their own idea of self-loss.

The macbob’ll show my new film What is this Film Called Love?, in which I chat to Eisenstein about ecstasis, and they’ll also show my 15-hour movie The Story of Film, treated in a radically new way, with music by Clint Mansell.

You are cordially invited to go along, dress up, explore, and be what people think you aren’t.

Ecstasis is on Sat 6 Oct, 2–8pm, macrobert, Stirling. Other highlights of the programme, running between Fri 5–Mon 8 Oct, include Theatre Uncut and We Were Promised Jetpacks over the weekend. See for full programme.


Mark Cousins takes over macrobert for a music-film-art party exploring the notion of ecstasis, the state of being when great art or music or simply being drunk means a happy escape from preconceived notions of ourselves.

Elsewhere on the web