Nanook of the North (1922)
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Having the name "Flaherty" and years spent in areas renowned for their cold climes did not make this movie a charming or pleasant experience.
Nearly every (to be incredibly generous) scene is staged, and the last scene is most certainly a set. The added depressing knowledge of the fate of various aboriginal tribes in the century after the movie's release only adds to the sense of helplessness one feels while watching the movie.
I feel the worst crime of the film is its legacy of clichés that persist to this day; igloos, sled dogs and "eskimo kisses" are all firmly established tropes that Flaherty is responsible for in his white-washed showcase of Nanook and his family.
I didn't like the movie at all. I thought it was a cheap distortion on Flaherty's part.
As a fan of documentaries, I loved seeing this early attempt at my favorite genre. I also love silent films, so this was a double whammy! Unfortunately, I am pretty on the fence about this film. I enjoyed some parts, but others I feel could have been left out entirely. I still recommend watching this if you're interested in film history!
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In 16 official lists
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This movie ranks #2 in Harvard University's Suggested Film Viewing List: Non-Fiction Films (2012)
This movie ranks #2 in National Film Registry
This movie ranks #6 in Sight and Sound -The Greatest Documentaries of All Time
This movie ranks #12 in 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die
This movie ranks #31 in The Top 300 Silent Era Films
This movie ranks #32 in Jonathan Rosenbaum's Essential Films
This movie ranks #33 in The Criterion Collection
This movie ranks #39 in Silent but not Forgotten: The best silent films
This movie ranks #53 in The Story of Film: An Odyssey
This movie ranks #70 in 100 Documentary Films (BFI Screen Guide)
This movie ranks #210 in Anthology Film Archives' Essential Cinema
This movie ranks #218 in They Shoot Pictures, Don't They?
This movie ranks #266 in Sight and Sound 2012 - Combined List
This movie ranks #281 in Roger Ebert: the great movies
This movie ranks #623 in The Guardian's 1000 Films to See Before You Die
This movie ranks #788 in UNESCO's Memory of the World: National Cinematic Heritage