Best Documentaries About Isolated Places

Isolation both scares us and intrigues us.

Communities that are sparsely populated draw people in for several reasons: a closer proximity to nature, a cheaper and simpler way of living, and essentially having more space for living and playing.

Below are some of the best documentaries about those who choose to life a different and remote lifestyle.

Slab City (2019)

Located in Imperial County, California, Slab City lies about an hour’s drive north of the border separating the US from Mexico.

Even though Slab City is a desert community, with scorching summers and a barren landscape, it each year attracts about 2,000 folks looking to escape the chilly winter.

All-year-round, Slab City is home to around 150 residents. Slab City dwellers typically live in RVs, and due to the absence of infrastructure, they rely solely on generators and solar power. For diesel and other supplies, residents typically drive to nearby Niland.

Solitary Land (2017)

Solitary Land is the story of how one of the most beautiful tourist destinations was once a prison.

The island also remains home to a current prison, which is a small community guarded by Chilean prison guards. What makes this isolated prison community even more unique and remarkable is that nobody has ever managed to escape.

Solitary Land is situated on Easter Island, which is one of the most remote spots on earth.

Hotel Coolgardie (2018)

Directed by Pete Gleeson, Hotel Coolgardie follows two Finish backpackers, Steph and Lina, as they explore remote Western Australian culture by working in a pub while living upstairs.

The documentary not only shows the pair enjoying Australian culture, but also focuses on issues of racism.

The viewer gets to interact with various characters, with some playing harder than they work. And for the backpackers, there’s certainly no shortage of unwanted romantic advances.

Village At The End Of The World (2016)

Directed by Sarah Gavron, Village at the End of the World invites the viewer on an insightful journey to a remote village in North Greenland.

This is undoubtedly one of the most isolated and remote places on our planet, and Gavron provides a rare and honest look into life in isolation where the biggest excitement is looking for the FIFA world cup best bets every four years – and seeing the sun.

In the village of Niaqornat, which is home to a population of only 59, folks regularly brave freezing seas, extreme temperature drops, and months of complete and utter darkness.

The people living in Niaqornat are dependent on hunters bringing back fish and other marine life for their dietary needs. This is a place of a continuous struggle against nature and elements.

But it is also home to several quirky and unusual characters, most of whom are quick to invite the viewer into their culture, and even tell a quick joke.

A Humble Life (1997)

A Humble Life documents the day-to-day life of an old woman who lives in an isolated mountain home in Japan.

Umeno Mathuyoshi passes her days sewing and embroidering kimonos in the mountains in Nara, Japan. The documentary is quite slow, but in doing this, director Alexander Sokurov offers the viewer the time to appreciate life in complete isolation.