IVUL 2009


This was the official website for the 2009 film, IVUL.
Content is from the site's 2009 - 2012 archived pages as well as from of outside sources.

IVUL is the extraordinary story of Alex, a young man who climbs on to the roof of a house and refuses to ever come back to earth. He lives out a brief and dramatic life in exile looking down upon a family that he loves but is too stubborn to return


IVUL - official film trailer 2009








** Jaime D
July 25, 2016
The film over indulges in a montage of unnecessary shots as the directors strives to prove his artistic credentials at the expense of narrative. There is so much fat that could be trimmed here and I prefer a leaner style of film making.


*** Mike M
July 25, 2010
An extension of that childhood game - referenced in the opening compilation of archive pastimes - in which players strive to keep themselves off the ground by whatever means for as long as possible: the type of pursuit that can manifest itself in latter life as a penchant for free running. It's certainly a fully physical performance from young Auzanneau, who uses the narrative framework as an opportunity for his own personal, eco-friendly highwire act: part Philippe Petit, part Swampy. In a week without an obvious blockbuster, "Ivul" might be as close as the cinema comes to an action movie, Kotting's camera zooming in whenever it looks as though Alex's feet might touch la terre... Kotting, of course, is not the only British filmmaker to have obliquely dramatised their state of exile: the heroine of Peter Strickland's "Katalin Varga" was harried and harassed, cast out into an untenable position. Up until its last-reel inferno, though - Kotting turning the screen over to hellfire - this bizarro, highly textured effort makes going off the map look really rather fun.




Time Out says
3 out of 5 stars


Kötting is an artist who operates on the fascinating margins of British cinema. The director of ‘Gallivant’ and ‘This Filthy Earth’, couldn’t find funding in the UK for this loosely autobiographical drama and so translated it into French, found a French producer and shot it near his second home in the Pyrenees. Continuing the theme of troubled father-son relations that informed his recent, multimedia project ‘In the Wake of a Deadad’, this is an eccentric, out-of-time country-house drama that’s visually more restrained than Kötting’s previous work but hints at his earlier work both in the inventive sound design and inserts of found footage. There's an intriguing sister-brother relationship at its heart, although some of the script is interesting in theory but underwhelming in the execution.

By: Dave Calhoun
Posted:Tuesday October 20 2009


Ivul, review

Ivul is a tantalizing drama about the hopeful-but-haunted ways we come up with to stumble through life.
By Sukhdev Sandhu
Posted 22 Jul 2010

(French) Dir: Andrew Kotting; Starring: Jean-Luc Bideau, Xavier Tchili, Jacob Auzanneau, Adélaïde Leroux, Aurélia Petit. Rating: * * * * *

There is no one quite like Andrew Kotting working in British cinema today. Actually, there’s no one quite like Andrew Kotting in cinema anywhere.

Perhaps there’s no one like Andrew Kotting full stop. He’s a one-man awkward squad, a restless energy-magician who makes other film makers, arthouse or mainstream, seem like lily-livered dilettantes. His work, whether in films such as Gallivant (1996) and This Filthy Earth (2001), his 2004 sound piece Visionary Landscapes (created alongside Jem Finer), or in his extraordinary book In The Wake of a Deadad (2006), is sinewy, bloody-minded and spry: a series of antic and visceral journeys through real places and head spaces, maniacal traipses in pursuit of fierce joy.

The ability to embody ideas fully, to embed them in topography, to think of the intellect as a muscle rather than as a mere analytical device: it’s these impulses that make Kotting something of a fringe figure in Britain, one forced to seek funding from Europe.

Ivul, his first feature since This Filthy Earth, was shot in France, is in French, and stars a mainly French cast. This is no handicap. It’s actually a blessing: not only does it underscore what a fundamentally unparochial film this is, but it adds another dimension of beguiling, mysterious estrangement to a story that is already tantalizing and ensnaring.


Ivul is named after the family who live in a secluded and rather crumbling country house lorded over by a Russian patriarch (Jean-Luc Bideau) and tended to by a mute bruiser of a groundsman called Lek (Xavier Tchili). Wood is chopped, machines tinkered with, hair washed in sinks. For dinner, the Ivuls eat roasted crow and stroganoff. This could be, in its vigorous, sometimes sensual, largely self-sufficient fashion, a family at ease: parents (the wife is played by Aurélia Petit) who playfully liken each other to “a coy carp” and a “degenerate smelly old ram”; an artistic daughter Freya (Adélaïde Leroux) who reads poetry and dreams of marrying moustachioed versifiers.

One afternoon, though, the father walks in on his son Alex (Jacob Auzanneau) kissing — at her bidding — his sister’s navel. Furious, he orders him to “get off my land”, an injunction Alex takes literally, promptly clambering onto the house’s rooftop and from then on, weeks turning into months turning into wintry seasons, confining himself to trees, portable wheelie bins and raised caravans.

It’s aerial resistance in the spirit of the young hero in Italo Calvino’s 1957 novel The Baron in the Trees, or even Simeon Stylites, the Christian saint who lived on top of a pillar for 37 years. But it causes heartache for the family: the mother starts drinking, the father is stricken and confined to bed, his sister howls at him to stop being so selfish.

Auzanneau, a trained acrobat, is fascinating to watch as he climbs and moves across slippery surfaces and brittle branches. This isn’t Man on Wire: there’s nothing balletic or that romantic about his actions; being a refusenik, or an internal exile — for him just as much as it has been for his family — is a matter of labour and graft. And while it can be celebrated — even the father initially applauds his son’s energy as an antidote to the hamburger-chomping, television-fixated habits of other teenagers — it’s a form of violence, too.

Ivul is much more than a character drama. It deploys artful sound design, timelapse photography and archival footage of families larking about to create cinema that seems pickled in memories — some of them with the bluntness and darkness of personal experience, some refracted through off-kilter gems such as Philip Trevelyan’s The Moon and the Sledgehammer (1971) about a hermetic family living just outside London.

It’s a film about improvisation: the higgledy-piggledy, bruised-and-abraded, hopeful-but-haunted ways we come up with to stumble through life and around our loved ones. Trying and failing. Failing and trying. Keeping on — until we topple





Special branch of the family tree ... Jacob Auzanneau as Alex Ivul.

Peter Bradshaw
Posted: Thu 22 Jul 2010

An unusual, semi-autobiographical film by English director Andrew Kotting. By Peter Bradshaw

Here is a strange film whose strangeness is disguised – though only at first, and not for long – by the mannerisms of documentary realism. It is avowedly based on director Andrew Kotting's own childhood, and as with all autobiographical works, some of the incidental interest lies in wondering which parts come directly from real life, and which are wish-fulfilment inventions, intended to correct the past and alleviate its pain. Jean-Luc Bideau plays Ivul, an elderly, and somewhat cantankerous Franco-Russian patriarch who owns a handsome manor house in France with extensive woodland – but who was evidently even richer back in his native Russia. His younger wife Marie (Aurélia Petit) has provided him with four children: Alex (Jacob Auzanneau) and Freya (Adélaïde Leroux) are in their late teens, Capucine (Capucine Aubriot) and Manon (Manon Aubriot) are hardly more than toddlers.

Ivul is severe and testy with Alex, gruffly insisting on his pet theory about what makes human beings civilised: namely, the planting of trees. And there is a particular source of unbearable tension: Alex has become sexually obsessed with his beautiful sister Freya and Ivul catches them in an ambiguously erotic clinch – having been tipped off by his factotum Lek (Xavier Tchili), whose creepy voyeurism is to recur at the end of the film.

Ivul explodes with contemptuous rage and Alex, deeply wounded and humiliated, storms off, climbs bizarrely up on the roof and swears he will never come down again. Stubbornly, he sticks to this silly threat; taking advantage of his father's network of trees, he climbs off into the branches and lives rough – climbing into bins, foraging for food and remaining neurotically obsessed with never letting his feet touch the ground.

Father and son are both too proud to make the first move to a reconciliation. To hide his fear and hurt, foolish old Ivul even claims to admire the boy's spirited rebellion. It is left to Alex's mother and sister to roam the wooded darkness, desperately, angrily shouting and begging for Alex to return. But the situation worsens and leads to tragedy. The story is told with various weird alienating tropes: sometimes the film runs backwards, sometimes we see Lek carrying out a bizarre ritual of throwing dead sheep down rockfaces. The opening and closing credits are shown over flickering black-and-white movies, apparently showing what life was like back in Russia, tinted the sepia-monochrome colour of memory, although the cultural difference between France and Russia is not overwhelmingly important.

Ivul is an eccentric, and exasperating in some ways, but I found something powerfully and unexpectedly real about the story's central conceit: that a single calamitous event, wounding a young man's pride, can metastasise into a family tragedy. That detail about never letting your feet touch the ground is, again, oddly plausible: a morbidly obsessive-compulsive challenge that is a metaphor for a painful need to rise above the family and the past, rise above the agony of unrequited love and mortification, and not to come down to the rough arena of pain. The movie will baffle and disconcert some. Others will find it a paradoxically realist visual poem about families and hurt feelings.

An aside: I was one of those people who after reading Peter Bradshaw's review decided to see the movie. But it wasn't until I went to Britain on a Fullbright schoolarship that I was finally able to rent it and watch with some of my mates , as the Brits so love to say. My mates love Andrew Kotting who is one of contemporary cinemas most idiosyncratic, visionary and original British directors. Theu knew all his earlier works from Gallivant to In the Wake of Deadad. Jump ahead to 2017 with the release of the documentary film, Edith Walks. The Rottan Tomato movie info states: The film documents a pilgrimage in memory of Edith Swan Neck. Bits of King Harold's body were brought to Waltham for burial near the High Altar after the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and his hand fast wife Edith Swan Neck is seen cradling him in a remarkable sculpture at Grosvenor Gardens on the sea front in St Leonards. The film re-connects the lovers after 950 years of separation. The 108 mile journey, as the crow flies, allows the audience to reflect upon all things Edith. A conversation in Northampton between Alan Moore, Iain Sinclair and Edith Swan Neck is also a key element to the unfolding 'story'. With images shot using digital super 8 iphones and sound recorded using a specially constructed music box with a boom microphone, the film unfolds chronologically but in a completely unpredictable way. The numerous encounters and impromptu performances en route are proof, as if needed, that the angels of happenstance were looking down on us, with EDITH as their hallucination. . And Peter Bradshaw once again writes a review which opens Another eccentric, strange, yet weirdly engaging journey along the line of Englishness by experimental film-maker Andrew Kötting, flying under the radar of conventional history and conventional production values. This zero-to-no-budget piece is something like a filmed moment of street theatre or Pythonesque subversion of the English past. I definitely want to see it, but I am neck deep in getting orders of Kleenex paper towels, other paper products as well as copious cleaning products out to several large hotel chains who order all their janitorial supplies from the company I work for, CleanItSupply.com. We are a huge wholesale and retail e commerce site. Some weeks it's totally overwhelming with the oders and other weeks it's just slightly less crazy. Some nights I dream of paper towels, toilet paper and tissues drowning me. I need a break. I have to check Netflix tonight to see if they carry any of Andrew Kotting's work. If not I will once again have to contact one of my British friends to see if they could purchase a CD of Edith, or Lek and the Dogs another recent release which he adapted for cinema from Hattie Naylor’s an award-winning play, Ivan and the Dogs. The story is based on the extraordinary true story of Ivan Mishukov, who walked out of his Moscow apartment at the age of four and spent two years living on the city streets where he was adopted by a pack of wild dogs. Spunds just like the perfect vehicle for an Andrew Kotting's film.




Unusual and Unsettling

July 22, 2010 | Rating: 3/5
Matthew Turner ViewLondon
Running time: 96 mins

Unusual and unsettling, this is a frequently intriguing film with strong performances and distinctive direction, though the frustrating lack of focus in the story means that it lacks emotional impact.

What's it all about?
Directed by Andrew Kotting (Gallivant, This Filthy Earth), Ivul stars Jacob Auzanneau as Alex Ivul, a teenager who lives with his family in a chateau in present-day Switzerland. Alex has an extremely close relationship with his older sister Freya (Adelaide Leroux), but when her suggestive request for him to kiss her stomach gets out of hand, the pair are discovered by their father, Andrei (Jean-Luc Bideau), who angrily throws Alex out of the house.

In retaliation, Alex climbs up on to the roof of the chateau and vows never to touch the ground again, embracing a Tarzan-like existence amongst the trees that makes his mother, Marie (Aurelia Petit) sick with worry. Meanwhile, Freya embarks on a trip to Russia and Andrei continues to profess indifference, but things get a lot worse when he suffers a paralysing stroke that forces Freya to return to the family home.

The Good
Kotting directs with a distinctive style that includes curious old movie footage (e.g. of adults playing strange-looking children's games) and seemingly illustrative filmed inserts (ice floes, microbes, etc.) while making strong use of a suitably weird soundtrack that includes ambient noise, electronic music and odd sound effects. This lends the film a dream-like, fantastical element, though the family conflicts at the heart of the story (stubbornness, what happens when someone refuses to back down in an argument, etc.) are rooted firmly in reality.

The performances are excellent, particularly Bideau, who's something of a scene-stealer. There's also delightful support from Capucine and Manon Aubriot, as Alex and Freya's two younger sisters.

The Bad
The main problem is that the story lacks focus, seemingly losing interest in Alex almost as soon as he disappears up the wall. The remaining scenes seem fragmented and disjointed as a result and it's often hard to see the point of the story if not to explore the central conflict.

Worth seeing?
In short, Ivul is an unusual and unsettling film that's definitely worth seeing, even if it's ultimately too removed and disjointed to really work on an emotional level.



The Life And Career OF Actor Jean-Bideau

| June 8th, 2013

Jean-Luc Bideau is a Swiss actor, born in 1940, who has appeared in more than 125 movies over his long career. He is a lifetime actor of great reknown, and his work has been featured in such well known films as “Last Tango in Paris,” “Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000,” and “The Red Violin.”

Bideau had the good fortune to make his stage debut under the tutelage of theater legend Bertolt Brecht. At the time Bideau was only barely out of college, where he had won the Paris Conservatory competition, and he [...].


The Life And Career Of Actor Jacob Auzanneau

| April 1st, 2013

Jacob Auzanneau is not your traditional French teenager. As a matter of fact, he is probably not your traditional actor, but he is indeed the star of the movie Ivul.

In the film, Auzanneau plays a boy, Alex, who runs away to live in the forest. He lives more like a wild animal than a human and his feet rarely touch the ground as he spends much of him time swinging through the trees. Even though Auzanneau attended circus school and is a trained acrobat, he almost did not get the part.

The film’s director, Andrew K [...]


Notable Films Made Or Filmed in Pyrenees

| June 30th, 2012

Creating a film with epic cinematography can be easily helped by choosing a suitably picturesque location. For many films this can make or break the picture. Choosing an appropriate setting can be difficult, depending upon the storyline. The Pyrenees mountain range can be the perfect choice for a film as they offer a variety of climates and settings, covering a vast expanse of land from Spain to France.

Ivul, a film made in the French Pyrenees by director Andrew Kotting, follows an emigrant from [...]>


Evil Ivul

| January 19th, 2012

The film Ivul (pronounced like “evil”) focuses on a moment in the life of a dysfunctional family. Often times uneasy and sometimes difficult to watch, the film explores the nature and both advantages and disadvantages of carnal restraint as it follows the tale of a boy named Alex. In the film, Alex has been thrown out of his home after perceived inappropriate behavior with regards to his sister and he takes to the trees and the roof of his home as he watches the family crumble from the safety of the trees.

Unless you get your movie channels from places like satelliteTV-HQ.com, then chances are you missed this one. Be that as it may, one can’t help but feel a strange sense of surrealism in the film. Elements of human nature and our own savage potential blend together in what could arguably be described as a modern day Tarzan story, and in some instances we are left questioning who the real monsters are as the line between man and animal is constantly being blurred.

If you like films that make you think and are in no way squeamish when it comes to the often heavy handed portrayal of abuse and dysfunctional families then you will get a charge out of this piece. Everyone else might want to steer clear.


Notable Films Made Or Filmed in Switzerland

| September 29th, 2011

Movies are filmed and created all over the world, when creating a film location is key. One of the many places movies are filmed is Switzerland, with the exception of strictly Swedish movies, over 30 films that have been shown worldwide have been filmed in Switzerland.

Some of the more famous movies known to people around the world that were filmed in Switzerland are titles such as; The Bourne Identity, Frankenstein, The Golden Compass, The Informant!, Star Wars Episode 3, Revenge of the [...]


Films At The London Film Festival In 2009

| September 26th, 2011

Films At The London Film Festival In 2009

The London Film Festival in 2009 featured 191 feature films and 113 short films from nearly 50 countries. George Cloony had three of the major films showing including “Fantastic Mr. Fox”, “The Men Who Stare at Goats” and “Up in the Air”. Other films at the festival included Cannes winner “The White Ribbon”, the French prison movie “A Prophet”, Jane Campion’s “Bright Star”, Steven Soderbergh’s “The Informant”, “Taking Woodstock” by Ang Lee, “A Serious Man” by Ethan Coen, “The Boys Are [...]


Films Of The London Film -Makers Co-Op

| September 24th, 2011

The French film, ‘Ivul,’ directed by Andrew Kotting, is somewhat of a strange, but unique movie. There is no doubt that the 2009 film is somewhat baffling while offering a blend about families and how hurt feelings can lead to great tragedy.

The film takes place in a manor situated in an extensive woodland area in France. Ivul, played by Jean-Luc Bideau, is a rich, cantankerous Franco-Russian patriarch. His younger wife, Marie (Aurelia Petit) is somewhat taken aback with the personality and behavior of her husband. Together they have four children: two in their late teens and two [...]


Conditions On The Set of ‘Ivul’

| September 22nd, 2011

The film, ‘Ivul’ is loosely based on the director, Andrew Kotting’s, own childhood. The setting centers around a large, manor house in France. It is owned by Ivul, played by Jean-Luc Bideau. Ivul is an old, angry Franco-Russian patriarch. The rich Ivul is married to Marie, a younger woman, portrayed by Aurelia Petit. Together they have four children: Alex (Jacob Auzanneau); Freya (Adelaide Leroux); Capucine (Capucine Aubriot); and Manon (Manon Aubriot). The first two are in their late teens; the other two are young children.

Ivul is demanding and testy with Alex. The tension becomes more severe when the young [...]