Close Up

16 February 2019: Andrew Kötting: Earthworks


Andrew Kötting presents a rare opportunity to see his Earthworks trilogy in its entirety. Taking place on, above and below the earth, as a whole the trilogy offers an experimental mediation on human existence. Kötting will introduce all three films and will be in conversation with Gareth Evans prior to Lek and the Dogs.

This Filthy Earth grew out of the unexpected success, the welcome given to Gallivant – but it was a fresh start, the beginning of another way of working. Ground, Off-ground, Underground. Or, better: Land, Off-land, Underland. Being up to the armpits in mud, drowning in it for This Filthy Earth demands release, flight among the trees. After the mysterious, quasi-religious ending of Ivul – cleansing fire, the purged figure, a reincarnated Cathar on Montsegur – it was necessary to go into resonant darkness, under the land for Lek and the Dogs. Kötting is always operating on stolen time, veins popping – dictate new paths and new places. A cave in France becomes a Russian bunker. La Terre relocates from the Beauce to Dentdale in Yorkshire as surrogate Filthy Earth. The whole series is polyglot, borderless, inspired by the director’s own life in the Pyrenees and borrowed Tarkovsky dreams of Russian dystopias and underworlds.

The second feature from the director of the wonderful Gallivant, This Filthy Earth is inspired by Zola’s novel The Earth. The director and the co-writer, comedian Sean Lock, have transposed the original French setting to an isolated farm in North Yorkshire. There young sisters Francine and Kath work their inherited, harsh land. Two men – a local brute who wants to grab the land and the other a gentle stranger – will threaten the closeness of the siblings’bond. With its striking mix of film formats and DV, the film mixes black humour with a raw depiction of rural hardship.” – Iain Sinclair

This Filthy Earth
Andrew Kötting, 2001, 106 min
Introduced by the filmmaker

This Filthy Earth is the story of sisters Kath and Francine, whose lives are disrupted by two men – a brutal villager greedy for the girls' land and a gentle stranger who offers the possibility of escape. Amidst a landscape of rural hardship and a community consumed with superstition, events unfurl which threaten their sibling bond.

Andrew Kötting, 2009, 100 min
French with English subtitles
Introduced by the filmmaker

Set in the French Pyrenees, Ivul is an intriguing family drama in which the intense relationship between teenage siblings Alex and Freya incurs the rage of their authoritarian father. After a huge quarrel, Alex climbs onto the roof of the house and vows never again to set foot on the earth. He lives out a brief and dramatic life in exile looking down upon a family that he loves but is too stubborn to return to. Inspired by his childhood memories, Kötting’s film is an intoxicating and ambitious combination of fascinating narrative, magical realism and vertiginous performance art.

Lek and the Dogs
Andrew Kötting, 2017, 92 min
Gramlot with English Subtitles
Preceded by Q&A

Based on the award-winning play by Hattie Naylor and inspired by the true story of Ivan Mishukov, who walked out of his apartment at the age of four and spent two years on the city streets adopted by a pack of wild dogs and with trace elements of Tarkovsky’s Stalker and Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape, Kötting’s spellbinding and utterly original story of survival draws on home movies and archive to produce a montage essay on the state of the world.