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October 20, 2012

An Evening with Ben Rivers

Special Event Tickets $12 - Ben Rivers in Person
Saturday October 20 at 7pm

Two Years at Sea

Directed by Ben Rivers
UK 2011, 35mm, b/w, 86 min

For his first feature film, Ben Rivers (b. 1972) reunited once more with Jake Williams, the eccentric hermit whose ramshackle life deep in the Scottish wilderness is the subject of Rivers' This is My Land (2006) and an episode from I Know Where I’m Going (2009). A captivating meditation on solitude and time's passage, Two Years at Sea is a vivid and at times mysterious portrait of a man who seems to have found a genuine inner peace in the slow unfolding of his ritualized every day. The stunning imagery and visual imagination of Two Years at Sea derive a rare power from Rivers' dramatic use of the pointedly anachronistic 16mm widescreen format – later blown up to 35mm – to cast a swirling photochemical energy around the ragged forest and overstuffed trailer that together constitute Williams' home and universe. Almost entirely worldless, Two Years at Sea uses its richly evocative soundscape and extended long takes to fully immerse the viewer into the resonant tranquility of Williams' life, with photographs and well-worn objects gently hinting but never revealing a past life shed long ago.

Phantoms of a Libertine

Directed by Ben Rivers, Appearing in Person.
UK 2012, 16mm, color, 14 min

An evocative tribute to a photographer friend who passed away suddenly, Rivers' latest short makes poetic use of images found in the friend's apartment to share poignantly unknowable fragments of a life's full adventure.


This program is presented with support from the Film Study Center, Harvard University.

Film descriptions by Haden Guest

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Special support for artists' visits to the Harvard Film Archive is provided by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

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