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Siskoid's avatar


An early silent documentary, Nanook of the North basically gave pop culture its Inuit stereotype (or Eskimo, which the film uses liberally but shouldn't, as the term is a racial slur handed down from more southerly tribes), but it has to be understood that what Robert J. Flaherty was trying to film was actually how Inuit families lived traditionally years or decades before 1922, possibly things he had seen in previous expeditions to the Arctic, ignoring a lot of the changes already taking place due to Western encroachment. So "Nanook" and his family are a retro-composite and so the film is better seen as a docu-drama. So if you're wondering how they got a camera into an igloo, etc., that's your answer. With almost 100 years between us and the film, what's a couple decades though? Nanook stands as a document of how traditional hunting, fishing, house-building and family life were done in the Arctic, and captures the harsh conditions, the danger, but also the joy of the Inu lifestyle. I watched it on YouTube where it had no music track, so I just put my music library on random. It started with Rush's Rivendell, which captured the melancholy North quite perfectly.
1 year 9 months ago
Spacepimp's avatar


It is easy to understand why some people are offended by the staging and the clichés of this movie. I on the other hand found the cinematography mind blowing, considering the recording equipment. Some is staged, but that doesn't make it an easier achievement.
1 year 10 months ago
MilenaFlaherty's avatar


Watched this years ago, don't know why this wasn't checked.
5 years ago
spacew0man's avatar


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!
6 years 2 months ago
MarkE89's avatar


Who knew sober eskimos could be this much fun?

That is, for as long as they use a canoe to magically make family members appear like another clown gathering, or play a slapstick version of Chuck Norris in the wild. When all they want to do is eat or sleep it naturally gets boring and even Flaherty's generous, poetic (colonial, some might argue) stance cannot make a thrill-fest out of people living in Greenland.
8 years ago
nicolaskrizan's avatar


It's complicated, but...

8 years 9 months ago
kaffy's avatar


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.
8 years 9 months ago
alittleLoCa's avatar


I didn't like the movie at all. I thought it was a cheap distortion on Flaherty's part.
9 years 2 months ago
Dieguito's avatar


A real life event documentary in 1922!! Eskimos did existed!! lol
9 years 7 months ago
SeanMX12's avatar


It'll be on TCM May 27th. Hopefully there'll be some sort of forum for info like this eventually.
11 years 8 months ago
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