Edith Walks (2017) | East End Film Festival 2017

June 20th, 2017
Author: Meredith Taylor

Dir: Andrew Kötting | Doc | UK | 60min | with Claurdia Barton, David Aylward, Anonymous Bosch, Jem Finer

Andrew Kötting is celebrated for his quintessentially English films that capture the idiosyncratic British humour and the beauty of the countryside. Gallivant explores the Sussex coastline in 1996, while Swandown took a trip from the coastal resort of Hastings upstream to Hackney on board a Swan-styled pedalo, and By Our Selves explores the Epping forest wanderings of a ‘mad’ poet John Clare (Toby Jones).

Edith Walks is intended as another light-hearted tribute to English King Harold Godwinson’s wife Edith Swanneck and is inspired by another walk – from Waltham Abbey in Essex via Battle Abbey to St Leonards-On-Sea, where the ‘queen’ took the remains of King Harold’s body to Waltham for burial near the High Altar after the Battle of Hastings in 1066, where he was defeated by William the Conquerer. She is seen cradling him in a statue at Grosvenor Gardens on the sea front in St Leonards.

Blending the banal and with the spectral, the dreamlike narrative opens with Edith lying on the grass bedecked in white robes and wearing regal jewellery and body markings appropriate for the era. The film The 108 mile journey, as the crow flies, allows the audience to reflect upon all things Edith. A conversation in Northampton between Alan Moore, Iain Sinclair and Edith Swan-Neck is also a key element to the unfolding ‘story’. With images shot using digital super 8 iphones and sound recorded using a specially constructed music box with a boom microphone the film unfolds chronologically but in a completely unpredictable way. The numerous encounters and impromptu performances en route are proof, as if needed, that the angels of happenstance were to looking down upon the troop, with Edith as their hallucination.

Eden Kötting’s short film Forgotten the Queen, a 10 minute and 66 second film made in collaboration with Andrew Kötting and Glenn Whiting with music by Jem Finer. Forgotten the Queen is a short animated film that digs into themes inspired by the life of Edith Swanneck. Eden’s drawings and collages are brought to life by Glenn Whiting and tossed into the time-line like flotsam from a demented passion. Meantime Edith’s eyes fix on the man-shadows overhead, resplendent in their didactic belief systems and stupid hats, which seem to have blighted women since the beginning of time. King Harold would not have approved because despite the fact that time itself can touch you like a feather, stupid men keep firing their bloody arrows.



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