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By Our Selves

This film was released on Friday 2nd October 2015 and is no longer screening. 

EXCLUSIVELY AT IFI

“John Clare was a minor 19th-century nature poet who went mad” is the oft-repeated refrain in Andrew Kotting’s reflection on the interior world of a little-known writer whose reputation continues to grow The film takes as its structure Clare’s epic four-day walk from Epping Forest to Northamptonshire, with Toby Jones’ mute portrayal of the poet accompanied by layers of narration by his own father, Freddie Jones, impressionistic soundscapes and readings of Clare’s work that build to create a singularly atmospheric audio-visual experience.

By Our Selves requires no pre-knowledge of Clare’s work and exists of itself as a response to an artist’s work, the luminous black and white photography and frequent fourth-wall ruptures adding to the heightened sense of experimentation.

Employing pagan fertility rite imagery reminiscent of Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England – or evenThe Wicker Man – Kotting’s film argues for Clare’s place in the canon of English nature poets. (Notes by David O’Mahony.)

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