Desire Lines

MUSIC Richard Luke

Duncan Cowles | UK | 2022 | 7’55’’

Through distant observation of people walking on desire lines, a filmmaker notices a pattern in his fellow human beings’ tendency to cut corners, and reflects on what this might mean for the future of our planet.

The film opens with shots of green landscapes criss-crossed with trails that run in parallel or else merge and overlap in a chaotic muddle. Shot from a bird’s-eye view, the paths create interesting structures, not least when pedestrians are using them. Incorporating plenty of irony and leaning on metaphors for roads and journeys, the filmmaker asks the following questions: “Are we on the right path? Should we strike out on our own? Do we need to leave the beaten track?” Near the end of the film, the filmmaker does indeed abruptly deviate from his chosen path and finds himself staring down the barrel of global warming. What does our compulsion to cut corners mean for the future of our planet?

DUNCAN COWLES is a BAFTA Scotland Award-winning documentary filmmaker whose short films have been selected for various film festivals internationally and won a selection of awards. He has gained significant online exposure through platforms such as Short of the Week, Vimeo Staff Picks, and more.