Kiss the Water

Eric Steel’s first documentary, The Bridge (2006), was an extended meditation on what drives people to suicide; his second is even more abstract, focusing on rituals associated with fly-fishing to ponder how people find serenity. This begins as a profile of Megan Boyd, an eccentric spinster from rural Scotland who created fishing flies so colorful and intricate that she attracted wealthy customers from all over Europe, including the British royal family. The low-key character portrait gradually expands into a poetic essay about the transportive effect of fly-fishing, climaxing with a Zen-like rumination on man’s relationship to nature. Steel often succeeds in conjuring a contemplative trance, which is especially impressive given the arcane subject matter.