7.6/10
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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.

Director:

Robert J. Flaherty
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1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
Allakariallak ... Nanook (as Nanook)
Alice Nevalinga ... Nanook's Wife - the Smiling One (as Nyla)
Cunayou Cunayou ... Cunayou -Nanook's Daughter
Allegoo ... Allegoo - Nanook's Son
Camock Camock ... Camock - 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:

inuit | kayak | igloo | canada | harpoon | See All (32) »

Taglines:

The truest and most human story of the Great White Snows. See more »

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | France

Release Date:

11 June 1922 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Nanuk der Eskimo See more »

Filming Locations:

Hudson Bay, Québec, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$53,000 (estimated)
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Silent

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This film was selected into the National Film Registry in 1989 (the first year of inductions) for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". It was the first documentary to be preserved in the National Film Registry. See more »

Quotes

Title Card: So as to cut more easily, Nanook licks his walrus ivory knife, which instantly is glazed with ice.
See more »

Crazy Credits

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

Alternate Versions

Remastered with image enhancement, speed correction and a new score in 1998 See more »

Connections

Referenced in Smilla's Sense of Snow (1997) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Tehnically Remarkable for 1922
3 January 2006 | by evanston_dadSee all my reviews

This is a fascinating documentary from Robert Flaherty, a very prolific director of early documentaries. He follows the adventures of the Eskimo Nanook, and we get to see what life was like for the Eskimo in the early 20th Century as we watch Nanook with his family, hunting for food, and building igloos.

This is really amazing stuff for 1922. It feels like it could have been made long after that. That's probably due to the fact that it relies on real settings and real people. It's not bound by the restrictions of manufactured sets, costumes, etc. of the period. However, though it looks utterly authentic, don't be fooled into thinking that Flaherty gives us a purely realistic snapshot of Eskimo life. He planted the early seeds of reality t.v. with this film, making careful use of editing to create a narrative with all of the melodramatic trappings of any studio picture. Though it's a fascinating film, it's also a reminder that documentary film is just as manipulative as fiction, and that Michael Moore wasn't the first to corner the market on presenting fiction as fact.

Grade: A


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