A writer takes a walk: choreography of stills and moving image in All This Can Happen

By Mark Sheerin | 21 November 2013

Film preview: All This Can Happen by Siobhan Davies and David Hinton, The Basement, Brighton, part of CINECITY – The Brighton Film Festival, November 24 2013

Colour photo of a country lane alongside a black and white photo of similar with a man taking a walk
© ‘Banff Scotland’ and ‘I Saw This’ Still from All This Can Happen, courtesy of Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division and Yorkshire Film Archive
The man who was said to have made Kafka laugh promises to also bring indirect delight to film lovers in the Birghton Film Festival, Cinecity 2013. Robert Walser, whose schizophrenia did not prevent him from writing nine novels and more than 1,000 short stories, also wrote The Walk, which inspired All This Can Happen.

Directors Siobhan Davies and David Hinton come from the respective worlds of dance and television. Together they have sourced some 50 minutes of archive footage, taken from the very beginnings of moving image.

A photographic study of walking by Étienne-Jules Marey provides another departure point for their meditation on the tension between stills and film. It has been described as a form of choreography.

Despite the age of the found content, this is no silent movie. All This Can Happen is narrated by stage actor John Heffernan, with sound design by Chu-Li Shewring. The aural landscape draws on archive recordings and new sounds alike; these reflect the walker’s changeable state of mind.

The main character is, after all, like Walser, a writer, so the film posits walking as a creative act. A Q&A with both directors is thrown in for good measure, so looks worth venturing out for on a Sunday evening.


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