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UK, 2011 (MIFF 2012, TeleScope)

Director: Ben Rivers


“A mesmerising portrait of life on the margins.” - Sight & Sound

Deep in the Scottish wilds lives an old hermit, Jake Williams, whose only goal is to live as simply as possible. Filmmaker Ben Rivers (Slow Action, MIFF 11; and a MIFF guest in 2008) first introduced audiences to Jake in his short film This is My Land; Two Years at Sea is his feature-length debut, picking up where This is My Land left off and presenting a gentle character portrait of solitary, analogue existence in a natural environment.

Presented as a collection of raw, humble moments that capture an enigmatic spirit while immersing audiences in an atmospheric world, the film intimates at Williams' character through its lack of dialogue and languorous shots. Rivers has let his subject go about his everyday life - whether it's fishing from his makeshift raft or constructing a tree house - lending the film a beguilingly authentic quality and building a ambiguous visual language of gestures and movements that invites multiple readings.

Winner of the Orizzonti FIPRESCI prize at Venice, Two Years at Sea is a quiet, unobtrusive film about the realisation of small dreams in a harsh landscape.

D Ben Rivers WS LUX TD 35mm/2011

See also...

Slow Action

A combination of documentary, ethnographic study, travelogue and science fiction, Slow Action is a study of an imagined post-apocalyptic society. By Ben Rivers (MIFF 2008). ... D Ben Rivers WS LUX TD ... More »

World Rattled of Habit, A

A day trip to Suffolk to see my friend Ben and his dad Oleg. ... More »


"What is This Film Called Love? is everything The Story of Film is not: it's fun, cheeky and daft, and it's personal, emotional and a bit sad." – The List ... Structured as a visual letter ... More »


“A compelling meditation on dreams that doubles as an exposé of how cheap those dreams have become, Futures Market is a wise and fulfilling film.” - Variety ... Rotterdam Film Festival Tiger ... More »


Two doctors face the unknown of a defamiliarised 'home' in this smart and enigmatic feature from Ulrich Köhler (Bungalow, Windows on Monday). ... Smitten by the land and its people, a German doctor ... More »


"A triumph of uneasy cinema: Not since Todd Solondz's Happiness has a movie portrayed pedophilia in such uncomfortable detail." - indieWIRE ... A hard-working employee in an insurance firm, Michael ... More »

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