The Feeling of Loneliness in Documentary Shorts

Living in the era of social distancing, loneliness is something I can say I’ve experienced deeply in the past 15 months. Rather than shy away from the topic, I wanted to examine the virtues of loneliness in short film. Films that cover these topics help counter feelings of despair and loneliness through finding mutual threads and can sometimes act as antidotes to those feelings. These three very contrasting documentary shorts masterfully capture that essence of loneliness whether it was their intention or not.

Social Isolation in Japan

Whether we like to admit it or not, loneliness is endemic to being human, Hikikomori is the Japanese word for people with acute social withdrawal. This NBC Left Field journalist went to Japan to explore and understand this concept further. Although brief this informative short doc reflects on that adage that one can still be lonely in a crowd.

Lowland Kids

This heartbreaking story about two teenagers displaced against the backdrop of climate change creates a feeling of loss that’s hard to put in words. With all the record breaking heatwaves and natural disasters occurring more frequently it’s easy to be swept up in the helplessness of it all. However despite being faced with the inevitability of leaving their home, these two teenagers still maintain a sense of normalcy despite their isolation.

The Last Man in Mahana

Paradise lost in our own Aotearoa. What started as a utopia for hippies has turned into a dying community and one man still fighting to keep the dream of the 1970’s alive. Sometimes it’s hard to suspend disbelief of people being truly alone when a camera crew is following their every move but Arthur embodies this as a relic of times past. His fellow inhabitants at Mahana don’t share his anachronistic ideals which only furthers his isolation.


Don’t forget our Film Festival programme launches early September and is in cinemas from October. We look forward to seeing you then!

Want more shorts? Show Me Shorts has a huge collection of short films available freely to watch in our Screening Room. If you enjoyed these short films and can afford it consider making a donation to Show Me Shorts Film Festival Trust.