Nanook of the North: Film review Essay

Review the movie with accent on the methods used in capturing the existent inNanook of the North


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II.Development and the “real” of Nanook of the North.



The attack Robert Flaherty took to invent and determine his authoritative movie, Nanook of the North ( 1921 ) , served to codify a genre of docudrama: ethnographic movie. Although, at his clip, there was no clearly define of this sort of docudrama, but “most historiographers agree that the first true docudrama was the work of Robert Flaherty, an American adventurer who used a camera to enter his travels in the Canadian Arctic and finally released a characteristic movie called Nanook of the North” ( Aufderheide, 2007 ) .

I. Genre.

Robert J. Flaherty ‘s `Nanook of the North‘ may be the first movie about adult male ‘s relationship with nature. His repute was built on the impact of a smattering of movies, but his most celebrated wasNanook of the North. The popularity of the film and its symbolic entree to its precursors and how it engaged with subjects related to evolutionary theory, the function of infinite and topographic point and historical context history in which it was made. It clearly shows the influence of Western civilization on the lives of the Eskimos in the Canadian Artic. “Flaherty’s movie provided an wholly new paradigm of methodological pattern and narrative construction. To this twenty-four hours, few mainstream film makers have braved Flaherty’s approach” ( Marcus, 2006 ) .

In malice of the facts that, Flaherty did non, in the mode of a documental film maker, merely movie Nanook and his household traveling about their lives, the movie did do a clearly position about how the Inuit people live, every bit good as the man’s relationship with nature and his cardinal inherent aptitude for endurance and made up a typical ethnographic movie. It captures a unusual civilization in a distant location, instead than a transcript of the existent usage of histrions and props on a studio set and frailty versa, the pristine nature of the movie serves as a theoretical account to analyse the presentation of human behaviour every bit good as perceived at the clip that the movie is formed.

II.Development and the “real” of Nanook of the North.

Nanook of the North contains many staged events. Robert J. Flaherty accentuated the Inuit lifestyle’s love affair and danger and presented in it as docudrama. Staged events are a basic of narrative movie. It was reported that Nanook was non the subject’s existent name. Nyla was non Nanook’s existent married woman. Events were photographed with way from Flaherty: Nanook was instructed to utilize traditional Intuit hunting arms, as opposed to guns. His iglu was clearly constructed to suit movie equipment. The filmmaker’s intended to accurately portray a vanishing life style. But unmanageable engineering and a hostile environment forced planning and presenting. Many critics feel these staged scenes, presented as truth, unfit the movie from true documental position. ( Aleiss, 2005 )

Why is the movie so celebrated? It is because it allows us to prosecute with the natural universe and with the existent life of autochthonal people or imagined that we live in it, so that we can better understand the duality between an urban life style of the West and the Eskimos people were forced to accommodate to it.

Flaherty’s movie is attractive for a tonss of grounds, and among those grounds is the methodological that he used to do the movie. At first, to research the lives of Inuit people, he was non satisfied with the pattern of engaging histrions and shooting on a studio. Alternatively, he took the camera and went to a distant environment and developing an autochthonal dramatis personae members ( those that surely is non professional histrions ) and technicians to assist him in making the narrative and sets the scene closely drawn from their personal experience. This, in footings of statements that say, it is a misrepresentation audience a dramatic manner, but besides really attractive, because in the eyes of the viewing audiences, they may believe that everything was true. He has created a existent character, existent hunting, existent life, although at that clip, this seems truly unsafe.

Flaherty has helped to set up the successful version of the adult male to his environment and brought to the audiences the movie by shooting they went runing and angling including an remarkably use of big part of the mean images. The foreground described the successful Inuit huntsmans by shooting their smilings as they were eating their hunted nutrient. Flaherty has recreated this minute communicating with the timeless concatenation of Inuit battle with the natural universe with a changeless velocity. At that clip, he has used the long shooting: Nanook and his household became so little black musca volitanss that hardly seeable in a big white box full of snow. At the forepart, the spectator can see the acrimonious air currents of snow on that desolate land. Flaherty’s techniques are simple but really effectual. He non merely described the adult male as portion of their ain environment, but he emphasized how work forces can yield to nature in the context of the cold indifference of nature brings.At the same clip, the techniques described runing, kayaking every bit good as edifice snow house turned the huntsman Nanook into a huntsman smart, tough subsisters, a surprising triumph over the rough elements of nature. In this manner, Flaherty made aˆ‹aˆ‹Nanook go a hero. He even went so far as to demo the household dailies so that they could give him input ( although they were non a existent household ) . Flaherty pointed out in his paper, “ How I filmedNanook of the North, ” that he shared much with the Itivimuit, including his gramophone, tea, baccy and sea biscuits. The Itivimuit responded back by assisting out Flaherty every bit much as possible, go forthing excess nutrient for him and by doing certain he was safe ( Flaherty, 1922 ) . By life among those Eskimo communities, Flaherty had the opportunities to capture the existent life ( although all of the characters in his movie followed his narrative agreements ) .


Although many statements have been set up aboutNanook of the North, cipher can deny that this movie is a fabulous, antic and cardinal docudrama about the civilization of those Eskimos that live on Canadian Arctic. “Nanook’s relationship to the camera, the camera’s relationship to him, is portion of his world, portion of the camera’s world, portion of the world being filmed, portion of the world on movie, portion of the world of the movie. In world,Nanook of the Northis an look of the existent relationship between the camera and its human topics, relationship that in bend are looks of, hence are capable of disclosure, both the camera and its subjects” ( Barbash, 1997 ) .


  1. Aleiss, A. ( 2005 ) .Making the white adult male ‘s Indian: Native Americans and Hollywood films. Greenwood Publishing Group.
  2. Aufderheide, P. ( 2007 ) .Documentary movie: A really short debut. Oxford University Press.
  3. Barbash, I. ( 1997 ) .Cross-cultural filmmaking: A enchiridion for doing documental and ethnographic movies and pictures. Univ of California Press.
  4. Flaherty, R. J. ( 1922 ) . How I filmed Nanook of the North.Worlds’ Work,44, 553-560.
  5. Heider, K. G. ( 2009 ) .Ethnographic movie: revised edition. University of Texas Press.
  6. Marcus, A. ( 2006 ) . Nanook of the North as cardinal play.Ocular Anthropology,19( 3-4 ) , 201-222.

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