“Geographies of Solitude” features Canada’s Sable Island which is 20 miles long and 1 mile wide. It is some 100 miles off Nova Scotia. It might be described as barren and lonely as there is no residential population and no place to stay for potential visitors.
Zoe Lucas has been living on Sable Island for some 40 years conducting research. Filmmaker Jacquelyn Mills set out to explore the island through Lucas. The viewer will be treated to the unearthing of the rugged beauty of the island and of course its famous wild horses some 450 of them. There is an abundance of flora, fauna and geography to marvel at. It will banish the notion Sable Island is barren or desolate. Follow Lucas and she takes you over the island and explains her work.
Not to trivialize but watching the documentary is like taking a vacation combined with innovative cinematography as a bonus. Mills is in the background and Lucas is no red-hot flaming ecologist. She works quietly and with determination. While Greta Thunberg might give you a throbbing headache Lucas is quiet and worth listening to.
Lucas tracks and records just about every living creature on the island. Like many of us she is concerned with plastics in the ocean. Of the dead seabirds she analyzes stomach contents of she discovers 72% of them have significant amount of plastics. Then there are plastic containers and balloons from all over the world washing up on the beach and those pernicious plastic pellets.
The movie concludes with a dead horse on the beach which upsets Mills and me! Lucas says with sincerity death is part of life on Sable Island as the decomposing carcass will fertilize the ground letting plants and flowers thrive which the horses and foals consume hence the cycle continues.
As a reviewer of film I often scribble pages of notes and stop, start and replay a film. I cruised through the entire film without taking many notes partially because the visuals are hard to describe in words but mostly the story and cinematography were very compelling so why stop and ruin it! Move over world and Galapagos we have Sable Island in Canada.
You can see the trailer here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KgKdTQJLgwM .
The film shows at Toronto Hot Docs Festival on April 30/May 4 and as of May 1 you can stream it for 5 days.
RKS Film Rating 91/100.