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directed by Andrew Kotting
UK 2001

 

On the evidence of This Filthy Earth, director Andrew Kotting is no storyteller, but the film exhibits so bold and singular a talent that it hardly matters....For his first stab at full-length fiction, however, he has chosen to adapt Emile Zola's 1887 La Terre, a chunky 19th-century novel full of outsized characters and thumping melodrama....This Filthy Earth is a true phantasmagoria inhabited by rural monsters and grotesques so backward they seem prehistoric. It's virtually impossible to find one's bearings in this floating nightmare. Kottting chips away at our ordinary filmgoing security with a screechingly abrasive technique that combines slow and speeded-up motion, time-lapse photography, changes in film stock, non-synchronous sound and archival inserts. At times, the fractured imagery produces a near-subliminal effect - was it a hallucination or did we really see an old crone sinking beneath the surface of the primal slime?

Excerpt of review from Peter Matthews located HERE

Theatrical Release: November 2nd, 2001

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DVD Review: BFI - Region 2 - PAL

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Distribution

BFI

Region 2 - PAL

Runtime 1:46:24
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.32 mb/s
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate

Audio English (LPCM 2.0)
Subtitles English, None
Features Release Information:
Studio: BFI

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

Edition Details:
• This Filthy Earth Installation- This single screen presentation is a reworking of an three screen installation first presented at the LAC Gallery in Sigean, France (31:13)
• Trailer
• Shadows Across Baked Earth (An investigation into the Local Heritage through Contemporary Art )- Made during a year as Artist in Residence at Cat' Art
• Illustrated booklet with production diary, film essays and reviews.

DVD Release Date: June 22nd, 2009
Keep Case

Chapters 12

 

Comments

With its focus on misanthropy, grime, and the worst of human nature, Andrew Kotting's This Filthy Earth is not an easy film to love, but God help me, somehow I did. Based (one must assume very loosely) on Emile Zola's novel, the film's loose narrative tells the story of two sisters who live together in the outskirts of a rural British filled with more livestock and mud than people. When one of them decides to marry, it sets forth a series of events that leads in tragedy for all involved. While Kotting often focuses on the grotesque and worst of humanity, and none of the characters are particularly likable, Kotting's visual style is unique and daring enough to not only make viewing worthwhile, but also enjoyable. To be sure, the film is not for everyone, but those interested in seeing one of Britain's most singular voices at work should definitely check this out.

The film itself uses a variety of different film stocks and filming methods. Some look natural and others highly artificial. While the image quality varies, sometimes from shot to shot, this is all intentional on the part of the filmmaker, and not the result of anything wrong with the print or the DVD production process. Overall, the anamorphic print on this dual layered disc adequately conveys what I can only assume is Kotting's original look and looks decent enough with both the stylized and naturalistic scenes.

Like many of the discs released by the BFI last year, this disc sports LCPM 2.0 audio. I'm glad that they've decided to stick with this option, as I believe that it generally provides a crisper, cleaner, and stronger sound than some of the other tracks commonly found on standard edition DVDs, and this is no exception. The audio--even for those noises that you might not wish to hear so clearly-- are very strongly reproduced with a clean and interference free track. The subtitles, as usual, are accurate to what's said on screen, and don't interfere with the image.

The extras here rank among some of the more unique that I've ever seen (aside from your standard trailer, if anything can be called standard about this film). First up, there's a reproduction of the "This Filthy Earth" instillation at LAC Gallery in Sigean, France. The instillation consists of three separate video feeds playing side by side on one screen with extended sequences from the film. These videos are dialogue free and again typically go from some of the more lurid shots (bovine sex, human intercourse, decaying animals, etc.). To say the least the this makes for a rather unique viewing experience. Next, there's a series of short films totaling about 20 minutes, often consisting of shadows on the Earth. To be honest, I really did not get the filmmaker's intention here, and could not get into these. Finally, there's a typically informative booklet containing a plethora of information about the film.

I'll repeat what I said at the outset. This is definitely not a film for everyone. Normally I not the biggest fans of films this dark, but it still worked for me. I have to say that's its a small treasure hidden amongst some of 2009's bigger name releases. Definitely recommended.

 -Brian Montgomnery

 



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DVD Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

Distribution

BFI

Region 2 - PAL


 




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