Eremita (Anthologies) is an anthology curated by Sam Abbas dealing with the core theme of seclusion. As a product of its time, the film directly addresses COVID in several stories but extends the isolation to water and animals. In each experimental tale, Abbas allows the directors to use a plethora of styles, paces, and pallets to convey their vision of life outside of society. Whether it is a proud hermit lifestyle or animals in captivity, the movie seeks to explore all the emotions behind a life freed through or tethered by solitude.
Analyzing plotlines for the film is nearly futile due to its avant-garde nature; many of the stories are told without narrative structure but instead focus on capturing the feeling of seclusion. Some sections contain zero dialogue, while one tale is entirely two filmmakers discussing the complications of shooting during a pandemic.
“…seeks to explore all the emotions behind a life freed through or tethered by solitude.”
Breaking down any anthology, especially an art-house movie such as this, means talking about what segments spoke to you the most. For me, The Second Journey was a huge standout. This chapter is dedicated to the homeless population of Venice. Told through interviews with people in the homeless community, the narrative discusses the cycle of the prison system while commenting on ideas of freedom through self-actualization. It contains a poignant monologue about living freely and how isolation from civilization does not mean you are less than those within society.
What impressed me the most about Eremita (Anthologies) is its ability to capture isolation with such clarity. The Finale presents a great image of limited social interaction, while The First Journey conveys how social interaction has changed through technology. Eremita (Anthologies) is an artifact of 2020 but also generally speaks to the human element of life outside of social interaction.
Eremita (Anthologies) opens by discussing the origin of the term “hermit,” giving the viewer a frame for the stories that follow. Watching the film connect everything back to this idea of a “hermit” seeking peace through solitude adds clarity to the more vague moments. As with some anthologies, the biggest hang-up is not every tale is created equal. Some sections are difficult to engage with, while other segments will have you hooked from the start. Overall, experimental cinema is, as always, an acquired taste. Eremita (Anthologies) may not be the perfect starting point in the genre, but it is still a good point to visit.
"…what impressed me...is its ability to capture isolation with such clarity."