We Move

A short film exploring how the Covid-19 pandemic has transformed our experience of movement and everyday life

We Move is a documentary which explores the cultural and artistic representation of movement within one of the world’s busiest cities and how the pandemic altered this activity and our individual experience of everyday life in London.

The build-up towards the pandemic is supported through the detail of images in the film and the specific areas which the footage is focused on.

The life changing experience of creating a film during this time has not only affected me as the creator of the project, thus altering its focus, but has also affected my life as a Londoner having to make the most out of these strange times.

Critical Reflection

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and prohibited non-essential journeys in transporting in and around London, as instructed by the UK government, the We Move project has been altered thus changing the initial ideas presented in this portfolio.

The health crisis, in turn, has effected my physical and ideological abilities to film within the city and the original narrative and thematic focus of my research question. With these factors in mind, I have taken older footage from July 2019 all the way through to April 2020, the midst of the city’s lockdown, to help branch together this new narrative.

The creative process of the film documentary and my portfolio has developed dramatically during this period and I aim to show this timeline of events through my observations of London. Not only has my research question changed, but my cinematic style and visual approach to the creative process has too, and as a result, has been more beneficial to rather than negatively effecting the outcome of the project.

The speed and dynamics of movement within London’s urban environments are prominent in the film and the narrative progression of this research portfolio show different places come to life. The gradual decline of public presence within the city, as a result of the social distancing measures and London’s lockdown, are visible in the documentary and are also reflective of my own self isolation as the person behind the camera.

My footage becomes more focused on the suburban areas of London when I move back to my home in Barnet, North London, on the 20th March where streets become quieter and more green spaces start to emerge, thus symbolising the quietness of the city after the lockdown was announced.

In the film, I use repetitive images and visual motifs which symbolise the physical and emotional experience of the lockdown and help to paint a picture of this experience from an individual’s perspective. For example: the motif of me blowing the dandelion expresses a wish that everything will be okay; the time lapses and focus on people’s feet amplifies the physical movement of the public and a persistence of life despite difficult times (which also reflected in the title “we move”, as a colloquial term for moving on and becoming stronger because of hard times).

The build up towards the couple walking towards the camera wearing masks alerts the audience to stay safe and as a reminder of our message to the nation.

About the Creators

Juliette Stevens is a third year Dance and Drama student at Royal Holloway, University of London. She and created this film for her final year ‘Special Project’.

Juliette acknowledges the help and support of:

  • Hanna Tweg: My step sister and third year Architecture student at University of East London. She helped guide me with my portfolio and its visual presentation.
  • Janet Stevens and Joe Tweg: My parents who appear in the final shot of the film who suggested ways of focusing my film in a new direction after the lockdown was announced.
  • Dr Georgina Guy: My supervisor and senior lecturer in theatre and performance at Royal Holloway. Last term I was part of her seminar in Performance and Visual Art which inspired me to create this film, and educate me in the studies of performance art, visuals and cinematography and the practises of everyday life which I explored in my project.
  • Kerry Daley: My mentor at Royal Holloway who has helped me emotionally and with my time management and organisation of the project.
  • Martha Bridges: My girlfriend and third year Zoology student at Royal Holloway who has supported me throughout the process and was there for me when I needed it most.