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Nanook of the North (1922)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 11 June 1922 (USA)
In this silent predecessor to the modern documentary, film-maker Robert J. Flaherty spends one year following the lives of Nanook and his family, Inuits living in the Arctic Circle.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Allakariallak ...
Nanook (as Nanook)
Nyla ...
Herself - Nanook's Wife - the Smiling One
Allee ...
Himself - Nanook's Son
Cunayou ...
Herself - Nanook's Wife
Allegoo ...
Himself - Nanook's Son
Camock ...
Himself - Nanook's Cat
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Storyline

Documents one year in the life of Nanook, an Eskimo (Inuit), and his family. Describes the trading, hunting, fishing and migrations of a group barely touched by industrial technology. Nanook of the North was widely shown and praised as the first full-length, anthropological documentary in cinematographic history. Written by <xaviermartin@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

winter | inuit | walrus | kayak | igloo | See All (23) »

Taglines:

A story of life and love in the actual Arctic. See more »

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Release Date:

11 June 1922 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Nanuk der Eskimo  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$53,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film is included on Roger Ebert's "Great Movies" list. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Sabu: The Elephant Boy (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

historically significant, yet flawed
12 April 2000 | by (Howell, MI) – See all my reviews

As a documentary turning point, Nanook of the North is undoubtedly one of if not the most significant work of the twentieth century. The story of Nanook and his family became the center of attention of the national media and virtually altered the perceptions the world had of film for documentary purposes. Flaherty may be to the documentary world what J.R.R. Tolkien is to the fantasy world. He is the giant of the genre. For its time, Nanook of the North was a masterpiece. Simple and profound, the story of Nanook was unique, and henceforth the foundation upon which the great documentarians of the 20th century created their works. However, through hindsight, the film falters. Most noticeable is the fact that Flaherty composed each of these sequences ahead of time and purposefully altered Nanook's life in order to make it seem harsher. In what is one of the most famous scenes, Nanook laughs at a phonograph and bites into a record as if he does not understand it. However, it was discovered later that not only had Nanook seen phonographs before, but he was a regular visitor to the trading post, owned a snowmobile and a rifle, and had probably seen a record player before. This fact puts into question the strength of this work as a documentary. Flaherty defended himself, claiming that some things need to be altered in order for the message to be seen. However, this is what we in the film world call "fiction". Plenty of fiction is based upon fact, but when you call something a documentary, it is held up to a different standard, one that Flaherty's work, although, good, fails to achieve.


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