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12
4.3 out of 5 stars
Two Years At Sea [DVD]
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on 30 April 2014
English artist and director Ben Rivers` debut full-length fictional documentary feature which he produced, premiered in the Orizzonti Section at the 68th Venice Film Festival in 2011, was shot on location in Scotland and is a United Kingdom production. It tells the story about a middle-aged man named Jake who lives a solitary life in a house near the mountains and close to the ocean.

Distinctly and subtly directed by English filmmaker Ben Rivers, this very quietly paced and somewhat fictional tale which is narrated entirely from the main character`s point of view, draws a reflective portrayal of a man who leads a secluded life. While notable for its naturalistic, prominent and atmospheric milieu depictions, distinct and very low-keyed black-and-white cinematography by cinematographer Lubomir Bakcev and use of sound and time, this artistic examination of a man and his lifestyle where the pace is in accordance with the character`s pace depicts a somewhat distant and considerate study of character.

This at times surreal and understated documentary which is driven by its atmosphere, is impelled and reinforced by its fragmented narrative structure, subtle continuity, efficient silence and pivotal moments. A cinematographic, observational and meditative mystery which is a diverse cinematic experience and which gained the FIPRESCI Prize at the 68th Venice Film Festival in 2011.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on 8 March 2013
I must confess that I loved this film on several counts: first it was shot in B&W, secondly the location was scenicaly interesting in itself and thirdly the main character was just that...a real character! Once I got into the minimalistic rhythm of the film (no sound score and little if any dialogue) I found it engrossing. How a man could live such an austere life in todays "modern" age amazed me. This is the story of a present day Mountain Man sans the living off the wild touch. Alright, he lives alone in the forest but he lives in a clutter of junk accumulated by himself which at times leaves one wondering if he really is just an unusual character or in fact not quite the full quid!! He inhabits an old forestry building, hostel or whatever but doesn't aseem to hunt either, although he does fish in one scene without any evident success.
The extras seem to indicate that he is a cross between a character out of "Last of the Summer Wine"....i.e. having boyhood adventures in later life....riding an old motorbike on snow packed roads.... and an Edward Abbey crossed with ex Hippie era drop out!
Whatever, you have to admire his steely determination to remain alone in the wilds, without company and enjoying the most basic of existences. The fact that he erects a "tree house" (I won't spoil the way he does this or what it is for you) or maybe "Crow's Nest" seems to illustrate the point that he is of an unusual frame of mind to say the least and I guess the only reason I didn't give the film a five star rating was that there is obviously a story here, of how he came to be like that which leaves one feeling a little unfulfilled.
On the whole the film is really an eye on this chaps existence as it is today without the explanation of the why's and wherefore. Maybe a second instalment will take us deeper into the story?? Here's hoping.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 13 November 2012
I saw this film 2 days ago at the cinema in Keswick and I am still enjoying the imagery of this beautiful piece of art. This movie conveyed such a rich narrative through its composition and subject matter albeit without dialogue . Every part of every shot seemed to be telling a story. Maybe this is a glimpse of what film making could become in the future if people are willing to rid themselves of there preconceived ideas of what a story constitutes. The film was the closest thing I have ever watched on a screen to the experience of actually being in a real time and place. Speaking of time ,if someone had told me that the film was say 3/4 of an hour long, I would have believed them, I was surprised to learn afterwards that the film was in fact 1 1/2 hours.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 30 December 2013
held me in its quiet spell from start to finish. The grainy black and white film made it look shot in the 1920s but added to the magical effect.Theirs no plot as such,just one mans day to day enjoyment of his own company while he fulfills his eccentric goals such as hoisting a caravan into a tree and building a raft to float on a pond.This maybe the uk's version of "into the wild".
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 17 January 2014
this is a film about a man who spent two years at sea so that he could live on his own and survive by his own means. It really is very inspiring, there is no dialogue so bear in mind, but the sound recording of the environment are superb.

Really great film, well shot and made.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 20 June 2013
I would recommend to anyone with an interest in 16mm documentary filmmaking or independent film makers.
A very unique film.
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on 13 April 2015
Fascinating.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 15 May 2013
An astonishing pencil-made portrait of what real mankind can DO...lonely...if one can be seriously alone in the mid of Nature!
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 26 March 2014
Jake Williams. I thought the school rumours were wrong. They weren't. Mr Williams, my temp teacher, IS IN A MOVIE. HAHAHA I love you Mr Williams.
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1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on 13 February 2013
What more can I say - one of the few films I will watch again and again. Please watch the extras as well - very enlightening.
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