Two years at sea, a brilliant documentary by director Ben Rivers and sound recordist Chu-li Shewring. Rivers prefers to shoot on an old, wind-up Bolex camera with black-and-white, 16mm film, which he then develops back in London in his kitchen sink. He has made some 20 shorts over the past decade, and they are generally free of narrative, drama and character development.
I first watched Two Years At Sea at the Danish Film institute in Copenhagen a couple of years ago, I watched it again this morning and it’s still as fresh as it was when I first saw it, this film gives the viewers plenty to do.
Nothing is explained: who we’re watching, where he is, why he lives like this, whether it’s real or not. Even the title is a mystery. Director Ben Rivers and sound recordist Chu-li Shewring take you into Williams life as he goes about his lone existence: making coffee, having a shower, reading a book. Except nothing about this man’s life is ordinary. His house is a cross between a bric-a-brac shop and a municipal dump, every corner filled with old books and records, tools, farm machinery, skis, oil lamps, woodpiles. And around his small plot are decaying caravans filled with even more junk. His “shower” is a system of hoses and taps rigged up by the kitchen window. It doesn’t matter. There’s no one else around.”
I love this film, it’s a pure documentary, simply observing life – a must watch.