Patrick Keiller's first film, Stonebridge Park, was prompted by the length and articulation of a footbridge over a major road junction in northwest London, and comprises moving-camera footage accompanied by a fictional narration written later. It's a film in two parts. In the first part, the narrator describes the events that led to his impulsive decision to rob his former employer. The camera meanwhile walks about above the nearby road junction, surveying the distracted environment. In the second part, he recounts the anatomy of his panic following the crime, while the walking camera reconstructs his escape route. A final caption reports what happened after that.
“A riveting combination of formal-concrete cinema and glassy-eyed schizo-lyricism: cold, hard-edge, noir.”
“When I arrived at the place I had seen from the train, I found that it was overlooked by an extraordinary structure, a metal footbridge I had not noticed as the train passed beneath it. About 200 metres long, it carries pedestrians over both the main line and a branch that passes underneath it, at an angle, in a tunnel. The longer of the bridge’s two spans is oriented so that Wembley Stadium is framed between its parapets.
The bridge’s architecture suggested a renewed attempt at moving pictures: its long, narrow walkway resembled the linearity of a film; its parapets framed the view in a ratio similar to the 4×3 of the camera, and its elaborate articulation, with several flights of steps, half landings and changes of direction, offered a structure for a moving-camera choreography which might include occasional panoramas.”
- 1. Raymond Durgnat, Loose leaf in CSM Study Collection, 2 February 1982. Quoted in David Anderson, Landscape and Subjectivity in the Work of Patrick Keiller, W.G. Sebald, and Iain Sinclair (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2020), 48.
- 2. Patrick Keiller, The View From the Train: Cities and Other Landscapes (London: Verso, 2013), 173-187.