Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB
USA/France, 1922. Les Frères Revillon, Pathé Exchange. Screenplay by Frances H. Flaherty, Robert J. Flaherty. Cinematography by Robert J. Flaherty. Produced by Robert J. Flaherty. Music by Rudolf Schramm, Stanley Silverman. Film Editing by Herbert Edwards. Podcast: My Criterions
Pioneering documentary by Robert Flaherty that explores the life of “Eskimos” (Inuit) in Northern Quebec. All the scenes are actually staged, but for its time it was an eye-opening look into a culture that most of the world knew very little about–and wanted to know about, as the film was a huge hit and became the standard by which documentaries to follow would be measured. It follows Nanook, a superb hunter among his people, who lives with his wife and children (they were all hired locals pretending to be family members) and fights for survival in a climate that wouldn’t seem survivable and yet his people make it work. Gorgeously photographed, it should only be seen in the restored version that is now available from the Criterion Collection, which features a corrected time frame progression, clean image and terrific orchestral score accompaniment.