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Geographies of Solitude

Cinema release 20.10.2022, Caligari Film Prize 2022
Still from the film "Geographies of Solitude" by Jacquelyn Mills. We see a woman with a maroon sweater and a beige bucket hat walking with her back turned through a grassy and sandy landscape.
© Jacquelyn Mills
  • Director

    Jacquelyn Mills

  • Canada / 2022
    103 min. / Original version

  • Original language


Two women on a lonely island off the coast of Nova Scotia: Sable Island. Conservationist Zoe Lucas was an art student when she came there for the first time in the 1970s and has been living on this remote strip of land for decades now, mostly alone. Director Jacquelyn Mills films Lucas on her daily trips around the island to observe the local flora and fauna. Her studies of Sable Island’s population of wild horses, for which the island is famous, and of the biodiversity there in general have made the self-taught scientist an esteemed expert. Collecting the alarming amounts of plastic washing up also forms part of Lucas’ everyday life. Mills films on 16 mm, which lends a special beauty to the barren landscape. Science and art fuse in the two women’s activities, each enriching the other. The movements of beetles are made into music. Horse manure provides useful data for Lucas and is just as useful for Mills’s experiments in film exposure and developing, along with algae and other vegetation. When Mills loads the final film reel into her camera, it’s not just the shoot that’s coming to an end, but also a special encounter between two people. A twinge of melancholy is unavoidable. (Anna Hoffmann)

Jacquelyn Mills, born in 1984 in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada. She studied film and works as a director, cinematographer, editor and sound designer. Following her mid-length film In the Waves (2017), Geographies of Solitude is her feature debut.

Festivals & Awards 2022

  • Berlinale Forum, World Premiere: Caligari Film Prize & CICAE Art House Cinema Award & Ecumenical Award
  • Hot Docs, Toronto, Canadian Premiere: Best Canadian Feature Film & Earl A. Glick Best Emerging Director
  • Jeonju International Film Festival, South Korea, Asian Premiere: Grand Jury Prize in International Competition
  • Las Palmas de Gran Canaria International Film Festival, Spain: CIMA Award for Best Film
  • Vilnius Film Festival, Lithuania
  • Art of the Real, New York, North American Premiere

The Hot Docs jury cited the film for its "deft ability to reveal the complex intersections between the natural world and humanity’s excesses on a singular isolated island through strongly crafted and arresting visual and aural storytelling."

"This incredible film proves the magical power of cinema which we believe in - to create joy, to bring people together, and to enrich our hearts, soul, and our cultures." Jeonju IFF

Press reviews (selection)

"Mills constructs true art." POV magazine

"Sumptuously spectacular visuals that are paired with a sound design that is engrossing in its sonic depth and accuracy... Life-affirming in representing the cyclicity of life and gorgeous in its painting of this serene landscape." Movie Marker

"A documentary that stands out as a vibrant plea." j:mag

"There is an invariable beauty and a great personal and professional daring, worthy of the big screen... Proves to be a triumph in its entirety, serving as an educational and inspirational object for a more sustainable world." c7nema

"A sensory adventure through nature’s circle of life." The Film Stage

Director, Cinematographer, Editor: Jacquelyn Mills. Made in colaboration with Zoe Lucas. Sound Andreas Mendritzki, Jacquelyn Mills. Colorist Eric Gaudry. Executive producers Brad Mills, Aonan Yang. Producers Rosalie Chicoine Perreault, Jacquelyn Mills.

Funded by:

  • Logo Minister of State for Culture and the Media