The latest from the Ross Bros, makers of the great doc “45365” their doc about small town life in their hometown of Sidney, Ohio. This one is a verite documentary chronicaling a night in the life of three young new Orleanians in the French Quarter.
“Two Years at Sea,” an enveloping portrait of a Scottish Highlands hermit from the experimental filmmaker Ben Rivers, is shot on 16-millimeter black-and-white film that feels at once tactile and evanescent. Similarly, the daily life we see of Jake Williams (the hermit who actually does live alone in a forest) is mundane and mysterious. The bearded Mr. Williams putters among junk, LPs and scarified snapshots (shown in montage), through varying shades of light and darkness, in a car, a raft and a camper. But his motives and means remain as cloudy as the overcast sky…..
“While “This Is My Land” is an observational portrait,Two Years at Sea” is more ambiguous, somewhere between documentary and daydream. At times, as when a camper trailer appears atop a tree, the film seems to slip into pure fantasy. “There’s a person in the film who’s very much like the real Jake Williams, but it’s not Jake Williams,” Mr. Rivers said. “He’s a character in a film, which is a construction.” Many aspects of his life are left out: the real Mr. Williams, a former merchant seaman, enjoys occasional company and works as a gardener and substitute teacher.
“Two Years at Sea” has been shown at documentary festivals. But Mr. Rivers finds the “documentary” label potentially misleading. “They’re not an accurate portrait of a person,” he said of his films, “but a very particular view on their world.” Although his impressionistic work may bear little resemblance to documentary as we know it today, it can claim a kinship with the form’s earliest innovators, like Robert Flaherty, Jean Vigo and especially the British filmmakers John Grierson and Humphrey Jennings, who were less concerned with factual representations than a poetic transformation of reality.
Butler’s amazing documentary on competitive bodybuilding from 1977, featuring Arnold at his sleazy, arrogant and brilliant best. The full on psych-ops he performs on FerrignoHulk is something to behold- totally dirty, but also spectacular in its win at all cost-ness. Guy’s a schemer, but damn if he ain’t good at it.