© The Financial Times Ltd 2016
FT and 'Financial Times' are trademarks of The Financial Times Ltd.
The Financial Times and its journalism are subject to a self-regulation regime under the FT Editorial Code of Practice.
January 9, 2014 5:19 pm
If I told you Kiss the Water was a documentary about fly-fishing, I’d be left with 23 readers and the promise of a postbag-for-life from angling nutters. So, please, other readers, don’t turn the page. Eric Steel’s film is hypnotic. His last docu-feature, The Bridge (2006), was about people throwing themselves from the Golden Gate, a whole different way of “kissing the water”, though no less haunting and – perhaps – melancholic.
It’s this new film’s genius that its “loneliness of the artist” theme extends from the main human subject – Scottish spinster Megan Boyd, who lived in a solitary rural cottage crafting “flies” so beautiful they looked like mini-rainbows and caught not just salmon but also the eye and purse of Prince Charles – to the anglers themselves, reminiscing to camera on their solipsistic art. Gorgeous animation sequences, in Munch-like swirls of colour by Em Cooper, punctuate the subdued yet elegiac tone.
Perhaps the film overextends itself: 80 minutes is a long time to be picayune. But it makes fishing look an Edenic pastime, with Boyd’s iridescent feather/fur/hair creations proving that in a prelapsarian world even salmon can have the fine or fatal sensibility of art connoisseurs. Boyd herself, now dead, is pictured only at the end in a brief flicker of archive film. Before that we must imagine her ourselves, from friends’ description and remembrance. It’s our own fly-like task of creating something – something to cherish, ponder, be awed by – from near to nothing.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2016. You may share using our article tools.
Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.