Award winning artist and filmmaker Andrew Kotting adapts Hattie Naylor's curriculum, award-winning play, Ivan and the Dogs, for cinema. Based on the extraordinary true story of Ivan ...
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Award winning artist and filmmaker Andrew Kotting adapts Hattie Naylor's curriculum, award-winning play, Ivan and the Dogs, for cinema. Based on the extraordinary true story of Ivan Mishukov, who walked out of his Moscow apartment at the age of four and spent two years living on the city streets where he was adopted by a pack of wild dogs. In the recession-ravaged city, the human world is dominated by deprivation and violence. When social breakdown from extremes of impoverishment, cruelty and selfishness starts to set in, a homeless child's only hope is to turn to feral dogs for company, protection and warmth. This spellbinding story of survival and need conjures the streets of Moscow in the 1990s through the eyes of a child. With innocence and fear, Ivan's perceptions of the world are beautifully described, from the acute awareness of hunger and fear, to the innocent understanding of chemical abuse in the 'empty eyes' of children and the ridiculed 'Bombzi'.Written by
Paul van Carter
"Lek and the Dogs" is the most overtly experimental of Andrew Kotting's films, the one closest to the art-gallery rather than the art-house. It is based loosely on the play "Ivan and the Dogs" about a boy who leaves his home in Russia and goes to live with a pack of wild dogs though there is nothing theatrical or even concrete about Kotting's handling of the material which is composed of a series of images linked to some degree by a series of chapter headings and Lek's narration, each complimenting the other.
You could say it's aimed, not at a cinema audience, but to those who prefer watching video installations though it might also sit well on a double bill with Wes Anderson's "Isle of Dogs" while the Russian connection should remind you of Tarkovsky. It's also more approachable than it sounds thanks in large part to the casting of Xavier Tchili as Lek who seems to live and breathe the role until it ceases to be a performance. Top marks, too, to the remarkable sound design and to Nick Gordon Smith's extraordinary cinematography. Definitely a key work in experimental cinema.
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