Nanook of the North (1922)

For the most part I found this documentary to be very interesting. There were parts where I was bored by the pace and the blankness of the snow. The thing I liked best was the contrast between what the Eskimos looked like when walking around and the closer shots. In much of the film, they look like wooly cavemen who are scratching out a miserable existence with Stone Age tools. When we get a close up of Nanook and his family, however the whole feeling changes. I stopped thinking that they would be much happier if they had a house and a fireplace and saw that they were content and certainly didn’t look like they were terribly unhappy with their lives.  One thing I kept thinking was how valuable the film is as a way to look into the past, much farther back than 1913.  It seems to me that we could have been looking at our distant ancestors during the ice age and it gave me a real respect for people who survive only by hunting in sub-zero temperatures.



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