In this blend of documentary and fictional narrative from pioneering filmmaker Robert Flaherty, the everyday trials of life on Ireland's unforgiving Aran Islands are captured with attention to naturalistic beauty and historical detail.
Robert J. Flaherty
Colman 'Tiger' King,
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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 film was sponsored by the French fur company Revillon Freres, which provided $50,000 for director Robert J. Flaherty's 16-month expedition halfway to the North Pole. Despite being rejected by five distributors, the film opened in New York City in 1922, after its success in Paris and Berlin, and grossed well over $40,000 in its first week. See more »
For a film as old as Nanook of the North, it might be expected that some cultural imperialism would seep into such an anthropological venture. Amazingly, this is hardly the case. The lives of a band of hardy eskimos are shown with little added or taken away. We see them fighting for food, playing, building shelters, and cowering in the dark winter. All of these elements are shown without undue sentimentality. We are amazed at the lives we see because they are so different from our own, yet we realize just how human they are when they smile at us and engage us. The sequence where the igloo is built is truly remarkable, as are many of the hunting expeditions. However, just when we start to think that the life we are seeing may be perfect in its purity, we are shown the other side of eskimo life. The bleak ending of the film forces the viewer to come to terms with his romanticized view of eskimos that the first part of the film creates. A great film experience.
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