Swandown (4 stars)


Photo: Iain Sinclair

Experimental filmmaker Andrew Kötting and writer Iain Sinclair swan their way to the Olympic stadium per pedalo

In a journey reminiscent of his debut feature Gallivant (where he travelled around the coastline of the UK with his daughter and grandmother in tow), experimental filmmakerAndrew Kotting takes a swan pedalo from Hastings and pedals it to the site of the Olympic Stadium, via the canals and rivers of Kent. He makes the trip with Iain Sinclair who provides his signature musings on place and culture and on the way the two are joined by friends, including comedian Stewart Lee and comic book writer Alan Moore. Also thrown into the mix are snippets of archive film and audio, encounters with locals en route and swan-related cultural tributes.

It all comes together in a charming and idiosyncratic way to create a rich and often funny snapshot of local identity. All awhile the Olympic project, of which Sinclair is a staunch critic, is a subtle underlying theme in the film. The presence of the stadium, which is the journey’s final destination, representing an altogether different side of contemporary Britain.

Swandown is on selected release now.

Official Swandown Trailer


  • 4 stars
  • 2012
  • UK
  • 1h 38min
  • 12A
  • Directed by: Andrew Kotting
  • UK release: 20 July 2012

Filmmaker Kotting and writer Iain Sinclair travel by swan pedalo from Hastings to the site of the Olympic Stadium. With contributions from Stewart Lee and Alan Moore, it’s a rich and idiosyncratic snapshot of local identity, with the Olympics (of which Sinclair is a critic) as a subtle underlying theme.