This Our Still Life

"OK"

This Our Still Life Review


Kotting follows up his short Hoi-Polloi (1990) and his first feature Gallivant (1996) by returning to Louyre, his family home in the Pyrenees. There are some amazing images here but, like his other films, it's a challenge to watch.

Andrew lives in an isolated house with his wife Leila and their daughter Eden, who has Joubert syndrome, a rare neurological condition. Now 22, Eden is a lively young woman with a vivid sense of humour, although only her parents can understand her speech (which is subtitled in the film). The film is a collage of their life together, including visits from friends and family members through four distinct seasons. All of this subtly explores society's narrow ideas of beauty and normality.

The title comes from drawings Andrew and Eden make of random objects, which echoes the film's structure. There's no obvious link from shot to shot, as scenes abruptly cut into each other to create a meandering, freeform exploration. The result is both earthy and intriguingly ghostly. It's also very difficult to watch, because it has no sense of pace or narrative. Even the audio track is a kaleidoscopic collection of voices, live sound and snippets from movies and TV programmes.

There are also clips from Kotting's earlier films and home movies, while Eden's exuberant charm shines through every scene she's in, whether she's teasing her father or singing along with something from her eclectic CD collection. But the filmmaking style is so mannered that we end up scratching our heads rather than understanding what Kotting is trying say.

Showing with This Our Still Life, this short was shot in the same place 20 years earlier, showing an infant Eden in a variety of settings with family and friends. The Kottings moved from London to Louyre in the Pyrenees the year before, and the film has a strong sense of the natural world, as if they are just discovering the earthy rhythms after leaving the big city behind. But this is an experimental film, packed with oddly unsettling images that highlight dangers in this new environment. The heavily edited mix of Super 8 and video footage in black and white and colour is intriguing, and there's also a sense of playful youthful energy, but it ultimately feels far too haphazard to engage our interest.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 58 mins

In Theaters: Thursday 8th September 2011

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

IMDB: 4.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director: Andrew Kotting

Producer: Andrew Kotting

Starring: Leila McMillan as Herself

Contactmusic


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