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Disturbed loner? Gentle recluse? Opinions on an infamous Maine hermit run the gamut

Between 1986 and 2013, a man named Christopher Knight lived alone in the woods near North Pond in Maine, only occasionally venturing into civilisation to steal necessities. Over time, rumours of a local, wood-dwelling hermit who stole into homes to take food and supplies solidified into fact as evidence of his existence began to mount. When, after 27 years in solitude, Knight was finally arrested for robbery, he made national headlines and became a local sensation – inspiring songs, sandwiches and endless discussion among the townsfolk, who viewed him as everything from a disturbed loner to a gentle recluse. More psychological survey than outdoor survival story, this documentary from the French-American director Lena Friedrich captures – with heart and good humour – the extent to which our opinions of others are often autobiography.

Director: Lena Friedrich

Website: The Hermit

6 May 2020

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