Swandown 1


  • Andrew Kötting
  • In English
  • 94 mins

Showing as part of Abandon Normal Devices Festival Preview

Swandown is a travelogue and odyssey of Olympian ambition; a poetic film-diary about encounter, myth and culture. It is also an endurance test and pedal-marathon in which Andrew Kötting (the filmmaker) and Iain Sinclair (the writer) pedal a swan-shaped pedalo from the seaside in Hastings to Hackney in London, via the English inland waterways. With a nod to Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo and a pinch of Dada, Swandown documents their epic journey, on which they are joined by invited guests including comedian Stewart Lee, writer Alan Moore and actor Dudley Sutton.

Hear from the Director

And for those of you who missed our Q&A with director Andrew Kötting, producer Lisa Marie Russo, and writer, poet and psychogeographer Iain Sinclair, you can watch the highlights here.

More Info

Country: Great Britain
Year: 2012

Want to book this film?

If you're a venue looking to screen Swandown more information can be found here.

Last shown

Last shown at Cornerhouse on Tue 7th Aug 2012


It’s a calm, resigned, mystical work that sits back and lets the world work its strange magic on us. Sinclair talks of him and Kötting becoming ‘flesh radios’ as they navigate the waterways and tune into the frequency of people and places. In spirit, however, this is resolutely more Resonance FM than Radio 1. ****

Time Out

There’s something enjoyably Herzogian about the pair’s trip: the way Kötting and Sinclair wrestle their craft, nicknamed Edith, over muddy embankments and bicker as they splosh along loamy waterways makes Swandown feel like Fitzcarraldo on a You’ve Been Framed budget […] Swandown’s charm is rooted in something much deeper, and more profoundly English, than confected Team GB spirit. ****

The Telegraph

From the kind of four-in-the-morning idea that could have been concocted by a bunch of addled students comes a quirky Jerome K. Jerome-ish insight into this strange land [...] well worth exploring.


Swandown is utterly funny, deeply lyrical, wholly winning, unchallengeably unique. It converts Kötting at a stroke from an acquired taste to a required one. *****

The Financial Times

The waterways are beautifully shot, by day and night, and the surreal giant swan turns the dullest of landscapes into a funfair. [...] The film is as fascinating as it is self-indulgent and meandering.

The Times

An engagingly eccentric aquatic odyssey

Screen International

Delightfully eccentric

The Metro

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You start the journey with them and even get a laugh at the odd bit of dry humour but then it goes a little wayward. However you do want to stay with it to see how it ends. Further editing would give an enjoyable 50 minutes of swanning it down the river.

deb b  

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