Two Years at Sea (U)

Ben Rivers, 90mins. Starring: Jake Williams

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The Independent Culture

Or, "A Hermit's Life for Me". Film-maker Ben Rivers spent a year in the wilds of Scotland chronicling the day-to-day existence of Jake Williams, a middle-aged man who has made isolation his life choice.

No words intrude, just the ambient sounds of wind and birdsong as Jake mooches about his semi-derelict farm, a chaos of Steptoe junk and Herzogian oddity: how did that old caravan end up in a tree?

This is one among many questions the film frustratingly declines to explore. Snapshots of people and places are interspersed, hinting at a family he abandoned – or who abandoned him?

Shot on 16mm black and white, the film looks grainily beautiful, and the long, long takes can become hypnotic (there's a 10-minute shot of our hermit fishing). But the non-communication between subject and film-maker is just too coy.