Knitting and Walking [Brenda Miller, UK, 2018]
Sometimes there are works of art that just do exactly what it says on the tin. If I told you, without you seeing it, that there was a short film called Knitting and Walking, you’d be hard-pressed to misjudge the film's premise. There is an interesting rationale to the chosen subject – a kind of therapeutic, multi-tasking flaneurism that attempts to address, through sightseeing and handcrafts, a kind of love for and interest in the city.
The film’s locations are never explicitly labelled but through the process of walking and knitting one begins to get a sense of the place that you're in. It is shot from the filmmaker’s perspective in GoPro style and in this way gives the experience an immersive quality. The eponymous activity isn’t without a sense of history and from the film’s text at the beginning we understand that it was an old Cornish tradition, from which the film takes direct inspiration.
The edit is cut frequently as Miller progresses through various locations, starting out walking through a woodland walkway towards the coast. We stroll past a farm and into a town street and, as she walks past people, there are snippets of conversation with the various townspeople. We then make our way onto a boat as the sun beams down onto clear waters, then stepping off into a town centre with old buildings and statues mixed in with the sound of moving traffic. The whole film has a very quiet and calming sense to it, easy to be hypnotised by the progression of the textile project at hand or the various and strangely quiet locales that Miller passes through. She eventually ends up with a knitting group and they continue their sojourn together, bonded in friendship by their passion for weaving and stitching.
What is interesting is that from cut to cut we also see the progression of the garment she is knitting. There is no exact sense of time either, other than that is it a Sunday morning/afternoon. It is a lovely experiment with a sense of artfulness and a pure love for textile craft. It is certainly not for everybody and would challenge anyone looking for a bit more narrative. Perhaps the film could have done with a little more historical contextualisation in order to enhance the effect of the film. That said, it is a perfectly decent way to pass a quiet ten minutes.
Knitting and Walking was a film in consideration for Short Focus Film Festival 2019.