Two Years at Sea (2012)
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Critic Reviews for Two Years at Sea
The first feature-length effort by noted experimental filmmaker Ben Rivers demonstrates such mastery of the image that it's worth seeing for the textures alone.
The imagery has all the solemn ravishment of Béla Tarr's similarly darkening The Turin Horse with none of the epochal portentousness, while Rivers's work owes more to Billy Bitzer than most gallery art contemporaries.
Thoreauvian self-sufficiency or classical pastoral engagement with nature and its creatures takes a back seat to the company of objects, trees and music.
Moments feel like a profoundly harmonic convergence between man and nature, though mileage will vary from viewer to viewer as to whether this singularly eccentric movie is ultimately illuminating or enervating.
It begs one question: can a man being filmed day and night really be tagged a hermit? But, then, that's our tag, not the film's. Tricky, this film, tricky.
Audience Reviews for Two Years at Sea
Shot on 16mm film then transferred to 35mm for presentation, the film celebrates all the weaknesses of film stock while rarely displaying its strengths. The long takes of a man living alone and isolated (except for the cameraman and whatever crew accompanied him, of course) are often intriguing, sometimes beautiful, and regularly challenging of the patience. Some will find it rewarding and worthwhile, others won't. I'm on the fence.
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