Student Film

Knit's Island

Quentin L'helgoualc'h 
Ekiem Barbier 
Guilhem Causse
Year: 2023
Dialogue Language: 
French Dialogue Language: 
Subtitle language: English
Length: 100 min.

"Don't shoot, I'm a documentarist."

Imagine if cinematic maestros Tarkovsky, Malick and Peter Watkins joined forces as gaming buddies, embarking on a perilous journey inside an online video game. Their mission: to investigate the dual lives of players who inhabit this digital realm, both as human beings and as avatars with personalities and desires distinct from their real-life counterparts. The film result of that endeavour would likely mirror the deeply melancholic and absorbing anidoc, Knit’s Island. But perhaps those three legendary directors wouldn’t match the charm of Ekiem Barbier, Guilhem Causse, and Quentin L’helgoualc’h, the trio of filmmakers behind this venture. They choose not to pass judgment on their subjects, instead crafting a strangely entertaining document on the hazy borders between reality and virtual worlds.

Equipped with cameras rather than heavy weaponry, Barbier, Causse and L’helgoualc’h spent a whopping 963 hours inside the survivalist game DayZ, which hosts a sprawling map of 250 kilometres ripe for exploration. Naturally, they encounter zombies, but their primary focus is sociological. Who are these people who dedicate countless after-work hours to this virtual reality, even to the point that digital memories and real-life experiences begin to be one and the same. Some of the avatars they meet live in communities, others are single wanderers. But all of them traverse this digital land for various reasons. In this free space, they all allow themselves to become anyone they desire.

A spiritual follow-up of their medium-length film Marlowe Drive (made with footage from GTA V), the trio’s virtual odyssey ends up being more than a sociological documentary on online identities. Knit’s Island evolves into a micro-epic about a colossal playground where people come and go. Whether it’s an African man with little money embodying a lone wolf exploring caves or a cute vegan couple with kids who spend their pastime travelling around DayZ, these players harbor fears and fantasies within this vast universe. Awarded the Burning Lights Prize at Visions du Réel, Knit’s Island stands as a poignant reminder of the power of digital landscapes.


Friday 05 April 2024
20:00 Slachtstraat Cinema 3

Friday 12 April 2024
16:15 Eye Cinema 1