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Friday Night Films

By Our Selves

Screening and talk


By Our Selves (2015)

Dir. Andrew Kötting / Cert. 15 / 81mins

Friday 17 February 2017 / 7.15pm / £5 (concessions £3)


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By Our Selves retraces Poet John Clare's journey on foot from Epping Forest up into Northamptonshire. 


The film focuses on two figures, sometimes Andrew Kötting, sometimes Toby Jones as the middle-aged John Clare. As they channel, in their own fashion, the psychic wound exposed by Clare. John Clare is alone, between the two communities of the Epping Forest asylum and the hospital in Northamptonshire.


Kötting is dressed as a straw bear, (an alter-ego and metaphor for otherness). At the mercy of the voices and visions and the hard realities of the road.... eating the hedgerow, sleeping on gravel, foot-foundered but determined. Framing the narrative momentum of the walk - in the acoustic footsteps of Clare - is the more complex drama of the two asylum interludes. The forest edge in High Beach, the meeting with the gypsies. The desperation of being lost, with no sense of direction, among the ancient trees.


The actor Freddie Jones (father of Toby) plays the older Clare in his final Northamptonshire incarceration. At the point when his identity is lost. 

Preceding the film will be a talk by Northamptonshire based author Judith Allnatt. Her critically acclaimed book, The Poets Wife portrays Clare’s wife, Patty Turner, as she deals with his decent into madness and belief that he is married to his former sweetheart, Mary Joyce.  

A subtle and sympathetic portrayal of losing a loved one to mental illness…at once homely and poetic’ (Times Literary Supplement)




Drama / Documentary


February 2017