Films about hermits

Here are films of interest about hermits and eremitism, plus films about solitude, silence, and simplicity. They are presented from most recently released to oldest. Trailers or equivalent are embedded when available. The presence of a film here does not constitute an endorsement or recommendation, though all the films present hermits and the related topics in a positive and sympathetic way.

Biographical films (religious)
Biographical films (wilderness)
Feature films (fiction)

Films about solitude, silence, simplicity - 14 films

Hikikomori: Japan's Modern-day Hermits
(France, Japan, 2019)

Produced by France24. Reporters: Constantin Simon and Aruna Popuri; French dubbed in English.

"In Japan, half a million people live isolated in their bedrooms, unable to face the outside world. These modern-day hermits are known as the hikikomori. Since April 2018, the Japanese government has been conducting a nationwide study in a bid to fully understand this strange phenomenon. Once limited to young people, it now affects the whole of Japanese society."

Hikikomori: A Deafening Silence
(France, Japan, 2015)

Hikikomori, A deafening silence - Trailer.

Produced by Dorothee Lorang and David Beautru

from a website profile of the producer:

"There are probably between 600,000 and a million young people in Japan spending their days shut up in their room cut off from social life, and this sometimes has last for several years. This youth named 'hikikomori' is characteristic of what Japanese society calls 'the lost generation.' The film goes to meet them in one of the rare re-socialization centers for hikikomori. With this documentary Hikikomori, Listening to Silence we wanted to understand the hikikomori phenomenon in Japan by allowing these youth to speak and by reaching their inner questioning. They are the future of their country, but their lack of self-confidence and the pressure of a too heavy competitiveness made them eventually sink into oblivion."

In Pursuit of Silence
(U.S., 2014-15)

Produced and directed by Patrick Shen with production team

from the website:
In Pursuit of Silence is a meditative film about the value of silence, our relationship with sound, and the implications of living in such a noisy world. From the Desert Fathers of the third century AD who became the model for Christian monasticism to John Cage’s seminal work 4’33” which would go onto inspire a generation of artists, humankind has had a long fascination with silence. In our race towards modernity, amidst all the technological innovation and the rapid growth of our cities, silence is now quickly passing into legend. We struggle to hear ourselves think, imagine, and connect with one another. Offering audiences a contemplative cinematic experience, the sights and sounds of this film will work its way through frantic minds, into the quiet spaces of hearts, and help shape a new vision of being.

website: http://www.pursuitofsilence.com

(England, 2012)

directed and produced by Matt Hopkins for EnglandYourEngland TV

Producer's description:
Richard is a portrait of wandering piano tuner Richard Roberts while he explores the adventures of living without a fixed address. He classes himself as working homeless – a growing group who sleep rough by night, but then get up in the morning to go to work. Richard sees his lifestyle choice as an experiment of economics, convenience and environmental impact ...

website: EnglandYourEngland.tv/Richard

Silence (Ireland, 2012) - described as "quasi-documentary"

directed by Pat Collins; produced by South Wind Blows and Harvest Films

Producer's description:
Eoghan is a sound recordist who is returning to Ireland for the first time in 15 years. The reason for his return is a job offer: to record landscapes free from man-made sound. His quest takes him to remote terrain, away from towns and villages. Throughout his journey, he is drawn into a series of encounters and conversations which gradually divert his attention towards a more intangible silence, bound up with the sounds of the life he had left behind. Influenced by elements of folklore and archive, the film unfolds with a quiet intensity, where poetic images reveal an absorbing meditation on themes relating to sound and silence, history, memory and exile.

Modern-Day Hermits: The Story of Hikikomori in Japan and Beyond
(US, 2012)

produced by the Univerity of Michigan Center for Japanese Studies

a lecture by Alan Teo, a psychiatrist and researcher at the university, on the psychological, cultural and social factors of hikikomori.

Susan Cain: "The Power of Introverts" - TED Talk
(US, 2012)

produced by TED; a talk by Susan Cain, based on her book: Quiet: the Power of Introverts
from the TED site:
In a culture where being social and outgoing are prized above all else, it can be difficult, even shameful, to be an introvert. But, as Susan Cain argues in this passionate talk, introverts bring extraordinary talents and abilities to the world, and should be encouraged and celebrated. Our world prizes extroverts -- but Susan Cain makes a case for the quiet and contemplative.


Tom Boyle, the Moneyless Man - TED Talk (UK, 2011)

produced by TEDx-OPorto; a talk by Mark Boyle, based on his book: The Moneyless Man
about Mark Boyle:
Mark Boyle has a business degree and management experience, but since November 2010 has lived without money, off the grid, in a trailer parked next to a farm near Bristol, England. Boyle travels by bicycle, barters his labor, and nurtures a large community of like-minded advocates of "Freeconomics."


Living Without Money (Norway, 2010)

produced by Jan Dalchow, directed by Line Halvorsen; German w/English subtitles.
from the film synopsis about Heidemarie Schwermer:
In 1996, Heidemarie Schwermer, a German teacher and psychotherapist, made a deliberate choice to stop using money and gave away all of her belongings but a suitcase full of clothes. She is still living almost without money and claims she is feeling more free and independent than ever. The film follows Heidemarie in her day to day life and shows the challenges she meets by living an alternative lifestyle.


How To Be Alone (Canada, 2010)

narration/music by poet/songwriter Tanya Davis; produced by Andrea Dorfman.
Website: http://youtu.be/k7X7sZzSXYs
YouTube "About" information includes complete text, which opens: "If you are at first lonely, be patient. If you've not been alone much, or if when you were, you weren't okay with it,then just wait. You'll find it's fine to be alone once you're embracing it."


The Big Silence (UK, 2010)


produced by BBC Two; video unavailable
about the film:
Abbot Christopher Jamison, a Benedictine monk, believes that he can teach five ordinary people the value of silent meditation, as practised by monks in monasteries, so they can make it part of their everyday lives. He sets up a three-month experiment to test out whether the ancient Christian tradition of silence can become part of modern lives.


Moneyless in Moab (US, 2006)

produced by Gordon Stevenson; linked on Daniel Suelo's blog
about Daniel Suelo:
Daniel Suelo stopped using money in 2000. He lives in caves outside Moab, Utah, growing, foraging, dumpster-diving, and working for food. He uses discarded items and gifts, and volunteers, exchanges, or freely gives his labor. Suelo is the subject of a 2012 book The Man Who Quit Money, by Mark Sundeen.

Links: Daniel Suelo's blog: Moneyless World, Free World, Priceless World; website: Living Without Money; Denver Post photo gallery, "The Caveman"; BBC PictureThis video Suelo: The Man Who Quit Money, featuring biographer Mark Sundeen. Many other videos available.


The Sky Turns (Spain,2005; DVD, 2010)

directed by Mercedes Alvarez, produced by Jose Maria Lara
from the trailer:
After a 35-year absence, director Mercedes Alvarez returns to her native village Aldealsenor in remote northwest Spain. She was the last child born there; now only 14 aged inhabitants remain. Though her film is intensely personal, Alvarez yields the spotlight to the dwindling but tenacious villagers. The passing years have made them natural philosophers, historians, and comedians ... From a small patch of ground, Alvarez opens up a vast domain, dissolving the personal into the universal, the fleeting into the timeless, and isolation into a connectedness that reaches high into the heavens and deep into the past.


A Year in Wilderness Solitude (Chile/Canada,2002)

25 minute video of "Solitude," Chile, 2002.

produced by Robert Kull; http://www.bobkull.org/
from the website
Solitude is sometimes dark and difficult, but there is deep joy abiding in the flickering stillness. Moments when, as unexpected gift, boundaries and buffers dissolve and All is, as it always was, sacred and alive. Solitude can rmind us there is no true spiritual freedom except through surrender to our own lives just as they are - here and now - in each moment.


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