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A surrealistic documentary portrait of the region of Las Hurdes, a remote region of Spain where civilisation has barely developed, showing how the local peasants try to survive without even the most basic utilities and skills.
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
The failure of the original copyright holder to renew the film's copyright resulted in it falling into public domain, meaning that virtually anyone could duplicate and sell a VHS/DVD copy of the film. Therefore, many of the versions of this film available on the market are either severely (and usually badly) edited and/or of extremely poor quality, having been duped from second- or third-generation (or more) copies of the film. See more »
Heartfelt documentary about people living in a harsh environment
The reason this movie is worth watching after so many years is that it is more than a documentary, it is the documentary of a family having to stay together in order to survive some of the most cruel living conditions on Earth. Apparently the scenes are not "real", in the sense that they are mostly staged, but they are staged in the harsh environment in which the Inuits are living and the whole thing is very believable, seeing as Flaherty himself spent quite some time with those people. I know of only one other film-maker to produce so warm documentaries, and that is Werner Herzog, Nanook of the North has that quality a Herzog movie will later have, it tries to understand the people under study by assimilating their culture with an honest intent and trying to look at one's own culture through the eyes of that under scrutiny. The moment the director shows the Inuits the gramophone is truly memorable. The majority of the scenes are not so thrilling today, but they are still above average from a documentary point of view and it is of course hard to believe that they were made in 1922. But what I appreciated the most at this film had nothing to do with the exotic images, you can find better stuff on any National Geographic documentary, but with the story of the family and the heartfelt depiction of their life-style. Much of this may have been distorted, I don't know but I am not able to spot anything in this film that can be seen as an argument for our culture as opposed to that of the Inuits. The whole movie seems more like an argument for variety and tolerance. Seeing as those people can find warmth in that harsh environment is indeed an argument for the essential good nature of humanity.
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