8 documentary films about loneliness

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    Making documentary films is an intensive collective effort. Filmmakers frequently depict loneliness in various forms in their work. This IDFA collection consists of eight documentary films that provide an insight into the subject of loneliness.

    From loneliness next door and self-imposed isolation in a distant corner of the world

    Loneliness is a universal experience and has captured the hearts and minds of many filmmakers—whether depicting the Rotterdam women who try to counteract the loneliness of elders in Good Neighbours, or offering a portrait of an isolated community in Siberia in Siberian Love. Sometimes loneliness is self-imposed, such as when individuals decide to live their lives without access to the internet—poignantly captured in White Spots, a Journey to the Edge of the Internet.

    From the festival screen to your home cinema

    The IDFA Collection consists of a large number of documentary films that attempt to make loneliness tangible. Below you will find a selection of eight unique films that have screened at the festival in Amsterdam in recent years on the subject—now available online for free or for a small fee.

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    The Banality of Grief

    • Jon Bang Carlsen
    • 2021

      After his wife dies, the renowned Danish documentary filmmaker Jon Bang Carlsen starts work on a new film. But everything he sees reminds him of her absence. His film thus becomes “a little stammering love letter."

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      • Xavier Marrades
      • 2016

        An atmospheric short film about a lonely truck driver who finds a new life companion in the form of a white dove.

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        Dead Slow Ahead

        • Mauro Herce
        • 2015

          An intoxicating sea voyage on a freighter that is more like a futuristic machine cast adrift, on a trip to the end of the world.

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          Good Neighbours

          • Stella van Voorst
          • 2018

            Two neighbors conduct a survey among lonely old people for the Rotterdam city council. They soon decide to abandon their questionnaires and take action.

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            The Sailor

            • Giovanni Giaretta
            • 2017

              A philosophical, poetic fairy tale that gradually alienates our eyes from the language that we use to describe what we see.

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              Siberian Love

              • Olga Delane
              • 2016

                Filmmaker Olga Delane, a single woman from Berlin, returns to the Siberian village where she was born to ask her family what they understand by “love.”

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                Solving My Mother

                • Ieva Ozolina
                • 2017

                  A Latvian mother is charged with emotional blackmail by her adult son. Can anything be salvaged from this destructive mother-son relationship?

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                  White Spots, a Journey to the Edge of the Internet

                  • Bregtje van der Haak, Richard Vijgen
                  • 2016

                    A surprising journey away from the connected world and into the lives of people living in “white spots” without Internet or cell phone reception all over the world. On-site reservation required.

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