Lek and the Dogs was conceived as a crossover project between narrative film, contemporary art piece, performance and documentary. The narrative was inspired by the award-winning play Ivan And The Dogs by Hattie Naylor, based on the true story of Ivan Mishukov, who walked out of his 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.
The film draws on a range of techniques, including home movies and archive, interviews and voiceover to produce a montage essay on the state of the world. Lek, is played by the French performance artist and actor Xavier Tchili and who starred in two of Kötting’s earlier feature films, This Filthy Earth and IVUL. He returns here as a man with a voice, somewhat close to the edge and buried under the weight of his own existential terrors.
With trace elements of Tarkovsky’s Stalker and Samuel Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape the film sends the protagonist, Lek into a zone deep underground only to see him surface in the Atacama desert in Chile. The film is the final part of Köttings Earthworks Trilogy which includes his two other feature films This Filthy Earth & IVUL and a chapter is given over to Lek and the Dogs in the Earthworks Bookwork published by Badbloodandsibyl and distributed through the BFI. The film grew out of a project which was initially instigated by the BFI Film Fund & SALON Pictures and a collaboration with the writer Hattie Naylor to adapt her prize winning play Ivan and the Dogs for cinema. Like much of Kötting’s work the project inhabits a foggy no-man’s land between documentary and fiction, between essay and narrative whilst at the same time probing for answers to Köttings ongoing questions of; Where now? Who now? When now? How now?
Adding to an existing body of work which is underpinned by the notions of the ‘psyche and its geography’ Lek And The Dogs is a further example of Kötting pushing at the frontiers of what might yet be possible within the context of the ‘cinematic experience’. The film was presented at numerous festivals around the world including a Masterclass at the Sydney Film Festival in Australia. It also had a theatrical release throughout the UK and Ireland.