Although it came out in February I’ve only just now seen the documentary Together in Isolation: The lockdown of the Faroe Islands by polish filmmaker Kuba Witek. This half-hour film draws upon diverse interviews with politicians, artists, musicians, doctors, and clergy to tell the story of how the Faroe Islands dealt with the threat of COVID-19 and the unique challenges of lockdown within an isolated island nation.
Shot in 4K, the requisite drone imagery lends a dramatic sense of place without taking away from the more grounded story of uncertainty and fear that touches on unique elements of the Faroese pandemic experience. In such a small country, the interconnectedness and concentration of activity is greater, so the potential for rapid spread is increased.
The film focuses on the period of time when the country was shut down to most visitors, looking at how people coped, adapted, and helped each other. It ends on the positive note that there had been no deaths due to COVID at that point. As the Faroe Islands have opened up, that unfortunately has changed. The site corona.fo, which tracks cases and provides testing and vaccination info, is currently showing two virus-related deaths.
The documentary captures a unique moment in history, within a unique society and environment. It also inadvertently provides a peak inside some interesting Faroese buildings, including the church and a museum in Klaksvík, an office in Tingenes, and the dining room of Hotel Hafnia. The filmmaker does a great job of letting places and people speak for themselves, and the editing is judicious in condensing 18 interviews into a cohesive half hour.
It seems that Kuba Witek shares a strong interest in the north, and this isn’t his only film that would be appropriate to highlight on this blog — nor even his first about the Faroe Islands. I look forward to watching FAROE WAY: The art of survival in the Faroe Islands as well as ISOLAND: Icelandic stories of Polish immigrants.
You can watch Together in Isolation: The lockdown of the Faroe Islands on YouTube, embedded below: