Films For Introverts, Loners, & Anyone Else Who Enjoys Remote Living
I spent my teens and early 20’s as a pseudo-extrovert who reached complete burnout by the age of 23. Ever since then, I’ve been seeking isolation. Not complete isolation, mind you— I have my husband, a handful of really valued friends (who also tend to be introverted and therefore low-maintenance so it works out well), and of course there’s the Internet.
I’m good with people. I know how to do the social thing. But my social quota is relatively small compared to most, and I’m left quite drained from the experience. Nothing against the people, it’s just my nature. And while there are certain aspects of my personality I’ve worked to change over the years, this is not a part I want to change. Because it’s in this approach to life that I find great inspiration.
It comes as no surprise then that I’m working my butt off to be able to live in a very remote part of the Inland Northwest. Three people per square mile and old ghost towns scattered about a vast landscape? What a dream.
So it’s only natural I suppose that films about people living quiet remote lives are appealing and inspiring for me. And as I watched a new film about a lighthouse keeper recently, I thought— I bet there are others out there who delight in this kind of thing, too, and maybe I should make a list of film recommendations to share with them!
So here, dear reader, is that list. I hope you will enjoy in perfect solitude.
Films for other introverts, loners, and lovers of isolation
Die Wand (The Wall)
Perhaps one of my most favorite films of all time.
“In this riveting, mysterious and profound adventure tale, a woman (Martina Gedeck) finds herself inexplicably cut off from all human contact by an invisible, unyielding wall surrounding her lodging in the spectacularly beautiful Austrian countryside.”
To Keep The Light
“Inspired by true stories of female lighthouse keepers, To Keep the Light reveals the inner life of a woman, literally and figuratively at the edge society, pressing the glass ceiling of her time.”
Leave No Trace
“Will and his daughter have lived off the grid for years until both are put into traditional housing. After clashing with new surroundings, they embark on a journey home.”
Surviving Alone In The Siberian Wilderness For 70 Years
This is the story of Agafia Lykov, whose tale I first heard about from reading the book “Lost in the Taiga” over a decade ago. It might be possible that she is who really nudged my introverted tendencies in a northerly boreal direction, making me realize what rugged and wild landscapes were out there waiting… (back when I lived in eastern America and had no notion of true vastness).
You can watch for free on YouTube:
Based on the true story of arthritic folk artist Maud and her unlikely romance with a hardened reclusive bachelor in rural Nova Scotia. The cinematography is lovely.
Alone in the Wilderness
I revisit this film often. It isn’t available to watch on Amazon, you do have to purchase the DVD but I’ve found it to be a good investment. With or without Internet, I can watch it anytime and it’s such an inspiring story.
“…The story of Dick Proenneke. To live in a pristine land unchanged by man... to roam a wilderness through which few other humans have passed... to choose an idyllic site, cut trees and build a log cabin... to be a self-sufficient craftsman, making what is needed from materials available... to be not at odds with the world, but content with one's own thoughts and company... Thousands have had such dreams, but Dick Proenneke lived them. He found a place, built a cabin, and stayed to become part of the country. This video "Alone in the Wilderness" is a simple account of the day-to-day explorations and activities he carried out alone, and the constant chain of nature's events that kept him company.”
Take Joy: The Magical World of Tasha Tudor
Tasha Tudor lived the life of a pioneer in her cozy home in Vermont, cooking with a woodstove, reading and creating by candlelight, and keeping up with her farm animals and majestic gardens. Her life was an inspired one infused with creativity across all fronts. And she is one of the people I find most inspiring.
“For the first time ever, Tasha Tudor has permitted a film crew unprecedented access to document her daily life. An intimate and charming portrait of one of America's best-loved artists.”
Fur: An Imaginary Portrait of Diana Arbus
A beautiful film. There’s art, mystery, longing, social isolation, and inner worlds colliding in wonderfully strange ways.
“From the window of her New York apartment, a housewife locks eyes with a masked figure on the street, a mysterious new neighbor whose sharp gaze strips the veneer off her tidy reality.”
Happy People: A Year in the Taiga
Another documentary film set in the Siberian taiga. With voiceovers by Werner Herzog, this film follows trappers in a small Siberian village as they go about their lives throughout the seasons. A portrait of harsh but beautiful far north life and stoicism amidst difficulties.
Babushkas of Chernobyl
“In the radioactive Dead Zone surrounding Chernobyl's Reactor No. 4, a defiant community of women scratches out an existence on some of the most toxic land on Earth.”
The Turin Horse
Admittedly this one takes a certain kind of person to enjoy. Personally, I derive great aesthetic satisfaction and inspiration from it.
“1889. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche witnessed the whipping of a horse while traveling in Turin, Italy. He tossed his arms around the horse's neck to protect it then collapsed to the ground. In less than one month, Nietzsche would be diagnosed with a serious mental illness that would make him bed-ridden and speechless for the next eleven years until his death. But whatever did happen to the horse? This film, which is Tarr's last, follows up this question in a fictionalized story of what occurred. The man who whipped the horse is a rural farmer who makes his living taking on carting jobs into the city with his horse-drawn cart. The horse is old and in very poor health, but does its best to obey its master's commands. The farmer and his daughter must come to the understanding that it will be unable to go on sustaining their livelihoods. The dying of the horse is the foundation of this tragic tale.” (IMDB)
“Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy star in Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s visceral, epic tale of survival and betrayal inspired by true events that’s set in America’s uncharted wilderness.”
Let me know some of your favorites in the comments below - I’m always looking for new movies that fit this specific and somewhat strange genre.
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