This Our Still Life DVD Review

Being anything but ‘still’, Andrew Kotting’s kinetic portrait of his daughter Eden is as touching as it is beautifully constructed.

The title refers directly to Eden’s still life paintings, which Kotting documents alongside her other passion of singing. Watching these two hobbies being nurtured is fascinating, but one can’t help but wish that we also saw a glance into how Kotting balances his career whilst taking care of his daughter. Never the less the intimate glimpses given into everyday family life seem somewhat daring and are deeply personal. Eden’s enthusiasm for life is inspiring and uplifting and it is her personality which gives the film its charm.

This experimental documentary is a combination of home videos, subtitles and audio from outside sources. The blend of all three works extremely well to paint a vivid image of childhood whilst conveying the director’s own distinct voice.

Also on the DVD is Mapping Perception, a collaborative effort between Kotting and neurophysiologist Mark Lythgoe. The result is a brief exploration into Eden’s medical condition whilst dismissing old fashioned notions of disability. This experimental film features a brief turn by Dudley Sutton and is a strong companion piece to This Our Still Life.

An History of Civilisation is a brief but well crafted observational piece focussed upon a sunny afternoon beneath the skyline of Canary Wharf. The use of disembodied voices set against images of humanity, raises many a question and challenges the viewers’ perception.

The last short film on the disc is Portrait of Eden by Gideon Koppel (Director of Sleep Furiously). The brief snap shots into Eden’s everyday illustrate a young woman who does not let obstacles get in the way of a ‘normal’ life. The crisp cinematography and observational style make this a strong counterpoint to Kotting’s more experimental work.

Charming and eye opening, This Our Still Life is a must see for anyone who has yet to see the works of Andrew Kotting. The numerous short films and essays contained within the BFI’s latest DVD release make it well worth the money.

Released Nationwide 19 March 2012

RRP: £15.99

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