Living a life near isolation in a simple but successful self-sustained way has been the focus of many documentaries over the years, most notably, for me at least, is ‘The Moon & the Sledgehammer‘ in which we bare witness to the strange life of the Page family tucked away from modern society in their ramshackle woodland home.
If that drew you in then you should almost certainly seek out the work of Ben Rivers, particularly Two Years At Sea, a film documentary without dialogue which follows Jake, a man who is nameless and virtually wordless and lives alone in the middle of the forest, completely disconnected from society living his radical dream. His pace of life is completely at odds with our technological driven lives of today. ‘His is an analogue world, replete with audiocassettes and record player, pen and paper. Little is known about him, aside his amazingly eclectic taste in music (from Indian, to Hawaiian Honky Tonk and folk) heard blaring, in startling counterpoint to the pervasive quiet…’
The film is ‘buoyed by a generosity of vision, spirit and affectionate humour that obviate austerity…’
These films leave you with a sense of the bygone as well as that of a post-apocalyptic future, themes which have also given rise to many fictional-based independent film releases such as the BAFTA nominated debut from Stephen Fingleton The Survivalist, released on DVD this week, which tells a gripping and riveting story of a post-apocalyptic off-the-grid fight against starvation and loneliness.
Couple in a Hole
After their isolated house is destroyed by a wildfire, Scottish couple John (Paul Higgins) and Karen (Kate Dickie) take refuge in the nearby forest (in the Pyrenees) and eke out a feral existence, staying away from the villagers in the valley below. As the couple’s backstory unfolds, the reasons for their self-imposed isolation and their deep grief become apparent. When an overly concerned local farmer Andre (Jérôme Kircher) tries to help them, the couple’s relationship becomes ever more fragile and unstable leading to a violent and emotional climax.