two years at sea

A portrait. A poem. A meditation on…solitude? Individuality? Filmmaking? Two Years at Sea (2011) is not quite a documentary, not quite a dream. An enigmatic man leads the life of a modern-day hermit in rural Scotland. There is no plot, no dialogue. The pace is slow, daily chores are filmed in real time, and developments are so few that I dare not give them away. But patience is its own reward, and those who sit through this unique offering may find it worthwhile. Visually stunning, the grainy black-and-white cinematography adds an aura of profundity to even the most mundane moments, occasionally calling to mind the work of Guy Maddin, Roger Ballen, or Bela Tarr. The soundtrack is basically a series of field recordings punctuated by the occasional scratchy LP. If the essence of cinema is vision and sound, this is a model of cinematic purity. Yet for all its simplicity, Two Years at Sea is fraught with mystery. Nothing is explained, but the leisurely pace leaves plenty of time for the viewer to fill in the blanks however they see fit. The best scenes offer the sort of contemplative silence that is rare in film. One in particular seems to make time stand blissfully still. And that is what elevates true art above all else.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s