Artist, writer and director Andrew Kötting has built up a string of quintessentially British films. The Whalebone Box is another of his experimental jaunts made with his regular collaborators and this time with his daughter Eden in the lead role. Shot in Super 8, 16mm and with an inspired use of archive material, this is a strange, haunting and magical film … with a sting in the tale.
A box made of whale bone, entangled in a fisherman’s net was washed up on a remote beach in the Outer Hebrides. Is it an enigmatic object containing a secret? A relic, a survivor from a mysterious shipwreck or perhaps possessing magical powers? No-one knows except that it was given to writer Iain Sinclair who sets out with Kötting and the artist Anonymous Bosch on an expedition to return the box to its place of origin on the Isle of Harris.
And all the while Eden Kötting narrates the story, working as both muse and soothsayer. She tries to make sense of the strange and mystical goings on as the journey unfolds, sometimes awake and sometimes in deep sleep. Ultimately the whalebone box is finally buried in the sand on the very beach from which it came all those years ago.
+ IN FAR AWAY LAND Dir: Andrew Kotting. UK 2019. 6 mins
A companion piece to The Whalebone Box, featuring Eden Kötting’s animated drawings, collages and paintings by the artist Glenn Whiting and the voices of John Smith, Miranda Pennell, Mikhail Karikis and Marcia Farquhar.