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Two Years at Sea

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Using 16mm cameras, artist Ben Rivers documents the solitary existence of Jake, a man who lives in isolation in the middle of a remote forest. The film follows his unconventional life, capturing moments of profound beauty. Jake 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 Know Where I m Going (2009, 30 mins), a short film by Ben Rivers
- This Is My Land (2006, 14 mins), a short film by Ben Rivers
- Deleted Scenes
- Booklet featuring essay by Dennis Lim


"Interpreting Two Years at Sea is far less important (or necessary) than watching it, experiencing the film as it happens instead of trying to wrest meaning from it. What counts is the fog that wreathes the trees, the bloody folk song that the man plays on a record player, the slight pulsing quality of the images and the way that another person s seclusion can feel like an oasis." --Manohla Dargis, The New York Times

"An entrancing, all-out tribute to a hermitic, Thoreau-like existence, given wide-screen grandeur." --Tony Pipolo, Artforum

"Gorgeous. Demonstrates such mastery of the image that it's worth seeing for the textures alone." --Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader

Product Details

  • Actors: Jake Williams
  • Directors: Ben Rivers
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Anamorphic, Black & White, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: Cinema Guild
  • DVD Release Date: July 23, 2013
  • Run Time: 92 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00CCI2CU4
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #133,808 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
If you ever wanted to get away from humanity and just live all by yourself in the forest, this is the film for you. Your days will be spent hiking about, floating on a homemade raft made of water jugs and twine, raising small campers into the trees as a tree house, and being silent.

I was surprised how little work the main character does here. There's a very romantic notion to his solitude in the distant forest and though he's by no means a rich man, he has enough necessities to not have to worry: gas for a small truck, electricity, food.

The film is very different than Werner Herzog's 'Happy People: A Year in the Taiga' in which the men struggle and fight nature in the heart of the forest to make a living. Where Herzog is the cold realist, Ben Rivers gives us a glimpse of why someone would want to do this, to find peace away from other people and find peace with yourself.

I loved the 16mm, b&w cinematography this is all shot in - reminds me of those old films we used to watch in school (way back in the 70's and 80's) on the reel to reel projectors about nature documentaries. And Rivers has a great eye, too. There are some inspired scenes in this film.

There are two shots in particular that stand out: the raft scene and the final campfire. Both are very long static takes where we contemplate solitude and peace. Some people might find them (and the whole film) really boring, but there's no real way to capture the essence Rivers wants to show us without taking a very long time.

Wonderful film.
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By smiles on March 23, 2014
Format: DVD
I have to admit I was ready to turn this movie off after the fist ten minutes. I'm happy I didn't. The entire movie is surrounded by a man, Jake, who lives out in the middle of nowhere. Alaska or North Dakota comes to mind-but the movie doesn't spill much secrets as he never speaks to the camera-so we, the viewer, draw our own conclusion through random photographs that appear and our own conclusion.. Shot in black and white-we slowly see this man fill his day with projects around his house and much needed naps. The view is breathtaking and yet isolating. He even at times stares off at the beauty of his surroundings-as I slowly found myself caught in this movie and it had me thinking of this man's generation. The generation that doesn't need iphones, TV's, or not trapped in some desk job that slowly robs you of your youth...his generation is one I remember as a child. The guys who always were involved in some project around the house. Who would go fish for hours in silence yet you never felt alone with them. It has me wishing for a more simpler time or is that our way of remembering our childhood? simpler times.
This movie won't be for everyone as there are no words, no explosions, no sex scenes that make you cringe. It's just you, silence and watching this man live. I loved the simple yet so powerful as he stares off at the fire. You wonder what is he thinking: a lost love, his children,'ll never know as it fades into darkness.
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Two Years at Sea
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