A Polar Year
- 1h 34min
A teacher in Denmark takes a job in rural Greenland where he struggles to fit in with the locals.A teacher in Denmark takes a job in rural Greenland where he struggles to fit in with the locals.A teacher in Denmark takes a job in rural Greenland where he struggles to fit in with the locals.
Now and then ,there's a director who comes up with something different ,something which enthused us without any violence,sex scenes or blue jokes .
Like the director,the young schoolteacher takes his chances ;he refuses a post in a small town and opts for a tiny village (in the middle of nowhere ,the wonderful panoramics do show how isolated it is ) in Greenland where he is supposed to teach the Danish language.
Like the director, the hero wants to live an adventure : and he does ! No running water , a heating which breaks down ,pupils who do not care about what he teaches.Boisterous children who do not feel like going to secondary schools , because it would be a waste of time :every boy's ambition is to become a hunter ,and if he does not learn at an early age ,he will never be able to learn the tricks of the trade.
So what about learning history ,Luther and the Reformed religion?In a convential movie, the teacher would bring his reluctant students to "true" knowledge .The young Inuits eventually come to dominate their teacher : little by little, his way of life comes to resemble theirs,not the other way about .
Thus revivified by the people he wanted to educate (and their parents who were not really friendly,nay hostile :the lady hardly thanks the teacher who helped her boy to carry the heavy can ),he feels the "call of the wild" :then the movie becomes almost entirely a documentary (which it was, in parts,since the very beginning).
There are wonderful scenes of seal hunting ,with a snow storm which forces the men to build an igloo (which was always a shelter during the hunting time,and not a house where they live,as many children still think!);we are treated to the delight of an aurora borealis ;we are told an old legend , an "Hansel and Gretel" for Inuit kids;and because life is made of small pleasures and big griefs, we attend two funerals .(the minister is a woman ,which may puzzle some Catholic viewers.)
"Une Année" Polaire "(which in French sounds like "Scolaire " (school year),it's all this and more ;a great way to go off the beaten track of the French cinema .
Like this ? Try this
"Conrack " by Martin Ritt (1974)
"Why shoot the teacher?" by Silvio Narizzano (1977)
- Jan 8, 2020