Two Years at Sea
2011. Great Britain. Ben Rivers. 86 min.
Introduced by Rivers
Saturday, January 21, 2012, 8:00 p.m.
Theater 2 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 2), T2
Two Years at Sea
2011. Great Britain. Directed by Ben Rivers. Winner of the critics’ prize at the Venice Film Festival, a highlight of the New York and Toronto film festivals, and topping many best-of-the-year lists, Two Years at Sea confirms British filmmaker and installation artist Ben Rivers as a considerable new talent. Employing seemingly obsolete handcrafted and hand-processed film techniques, including 16mm CinemaScope, Rivers alludes to and critiques a tradition of poetic ethnography that dates back to the 1930s and 1940s. The paradox of his first feature-length film is its portrait of a man who might conventionally be regarded as marginal or eccentric, yet who nonetheless seems more at home in his landscape—the wilds of Scotland—than we are in our own. As Rivers writes, “A man called Jake lives in the middle of the forest. He goes for walks in whatever the weather, and takes naps in the misty fields and woods. He builds a raft to spend time sitting in a loch. He sleeps in a caravan that floats up a tree. He is seen in all seasons, surviving frugally, passing the time with strange projects, living the radical dream he had as a younger man, a dream he spent two years working at sea to realize. I made a short film about Jake five years ago, and as time has passed and other films have been made, I have had a continual feeling that I should go back—to make another film where I, and then the audience, can spend more time hanging around Jake’s place in the forest. I want the film to embrace the different perception of time that Jake and his environment have, which is much more patient and relaxed than my own urban living. The film will have at its core the relationship between a person and the place they have chosen to live out their life, and the deep connection there is between them.” 86 min.