Part nightmare, part fantasy, Ivul tells the tale of Alex, who bizarrely moves out onto the roof of his house and refuses to come down after a false abuse accusation. From there, he watches... See full summary »
Swandown is a travelogue and odyssey of Olympian ambition; a poetic film-diary in which Andrew Kötting and Iain Sinclair pedal a swan-shaped pedalo from the seaside in Hastings to Hackney in London, via the English inland waterways.
A rural tale, guaranteed to make you feel bewildered, isolated and unclean
An uncompromising film, which depicts a harsh rural environment in the north of England with an uncomfortable candour. As suggested by the title, the film conveys a constant sense of ingrained griminess along with the isolation of the environment, the constant exposure to the cycle of life and death of the protagonists and their vulnerability to the whim of nature.
For this is a world reminiscent of medieval times where superstition abounds and the viewer becomes a hostage to this.
I witnessed a number of people walk out of this film, mainly due the seemingly impenetrable society featured and I must admit to having questioned my own judgment of having gone to see it near the beginning. However after a number of events in the film the viewer acclimatises to this dirty, brutal world with its crazed inhabitants and their peculiar dialect and ways.
As a rule, the intriguing story moves at a good pace and the characters are well developed. Rebecca R Palmer shines as the lead part of Francine, a woman you feel has been born into the wrong environment. Another intriguing character is that of Jesus Christ (Peter-Hugo Daly), an alcoholic idiot savant who becomes increasingly savant as the other characters descend further into madness.
Occasional moments of Super 8 and time lapse photography lend fantastic elements to the film, but it's mainly steeped in harsh reality.
As I said, it took some getting into but for the majority of it I thoroughly enjoyed this. If you want to see a film like you've never seen before and like it to make you feel altered when you leave the cinema please go and see this. If you want to see a film about a rural idyll and don't like a film to make you feel uncomfortable then give it a wide berth, or wait until it's on TV.
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