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Nanook of the North (Criterion Collection Spine #33)
Nanook of the North
Criterion Collection Spine #33
Actors: Allakariallak, Nyla, Cunayou, Allee, Allegoo
Director: Robert J. Flaherty
Genres: Classics, Drama, Kids & Family, Educational
UR     1999     1hr 19min

Robert Flaherty's classic film tells the story of Inuit hunter Nanook and his family as they struggle to survive in the harsh conditions of Canada's Hudson Bay region. Enormously popular when released in 1922, Nanook of th...  more »

     
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Movie Details

Actors: Allakariallak, Nyla, Cunayou, Allee, Allegoo
Director: Robert J. Flaherty
Creators: Robert J. Flaherty, Charles Gelb, Herbert Edwards, John Révillon, Frances H. Flaherty
Genres: Classics, Drama, Kids & Family, Educational
Sub-Genres: Silent Films, Classics, 10-12 Years, Educational
Studio: Criterion
Format: DVD - Black and White
DVD Release Date: 01/26/1999
Original Release Date: 06/11/1922
Theatrical Release Date: 06/11/1922
Release Year: 1999
Run Time: 1hr 19min
Screens: Black and White
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 20
Edition: Criterion Collection
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

A classic of ethnographic film
Alexander M. Moir | Huntington, NY | 10/21/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Robert Flaherty's "Nanook of the North" is a true classic of ethnographic film. The principle behind anthropological film in the early days of its existence was to capture traditional societies in time, a sort of "salvage ethnography." In doing so, filmmakers like Flaherty and others particularly focused on Amerindian cultures, which were seen as a dying remnant of early America. In creating his silent masterpiece, Flaherty used actors of Inuit extraction, who still knew the traditional ways, and who could reproduce their culture for posterity through film. Though his methods have been criticized as contrived and retrogressive, post-modernist rhetoric has not succeeded in ruining this film in the popular or anthropological circles. "Nanook" remains a warm account of traditional Inuit/Eskimo life, despite their frigid setting. The DVD collectable edition contains some photo galleries and useful material about Flaherty and his subjects."
The beginning of Documentary Film, One of The Greatest Films
S. Sharp | N. California | 05/02/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Most of what I could say has already been said. It is an important historical document of a vanished way of life. It is a unique tribute to one man & his stand agianst the elements. Flaherty invented documentary as we now know it in this film. The filmmaker displays almost as much tenacity & courage in recording the material as Nanook does in his everyday life. A measure of the film's greatness is the profound effect it had on Orson Welles. After seeing the film Welles is said to have abandoned the editing of his 'Magnificent Ambersons' & taken on a journey to South America to shoot in documentary style."
Humanity in a harsh land
Linda Linguvic | New York City | 03/13/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The small band of people have to struggle to survive. The threat of starvation is always present. The land is harsh. And yet there is much joy in this film. There are several children who laugh and play with the puppies and play sliding games on the snow. There's a chubby baby of 4 months old who travels in the hood of his mother's coat. There's Nanook's wife who is always smiling. And dogs who work hard to pull the sleds.The viewer sees the small troop hunt for walrus and seal. There is struggle and then there is joy as they eat pieces of the raw meat. We also see them construct an igloo within one hour, the whole family working together with their flat bone knives as their only tool. I understand that this film has been criticized because this scene was staged and that a special igloo had to be created in order to film the interior, but I can't see how else this could have been done.The viewer really identifies with the people and their daily struggle and I was saddened to learn that two years after the film was produced, Nanook died of starvation during a deer hunt.In spite of the limited amount of technology available to Flaherty, he did a spectacular job, and the film stands today as an important historical document. Absolutely one of the best documentaries I have ever seen. Highly recommended."
Nanook- - the man from terra incognita
F. Y. Smith | Atlanta, Georgia | 12/23/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)

"I always thought "Nanook of the North" was just a metaphor for an overly bundled-up person -- until I came across his eponymous movie! I was dumbfounded and mesmerized by this 1-hour documentary. It was filmed in frozen northern Canada in the early 1900's, silent and in black-and-white, of course.

Nanook is patriarch of a native Hudson Bay family (think "Eskimos") who live on the pitiless edge of survival. Yet these are sweet, sweet people. The camera follows mainly Nanook through days of daunting challenges centered on food and shelter from the cold. In one astonishing scene after another, Nanook:

1.) sneaks up on and harpooons a huge walrus, 2.) has a titanic struggle with a seal through an ice hole, and 3.) carves and assembles in less than one hour a large igloo, which includes an a-m-a-z-i-n-g feature that will have you talking to yourself.

What comes out of his kayak will have you gasping.

This is great film-making, notable all the more due to severity of conditions, remoteness of location and unsophisticated technology of the period. I don't expect to ever see anything quite like this again.

Nanook irrestibly earns your respect and affection. The movie brought him international attention. News of his death two years later elicited condolences from around the world.

Unforgettable. A singular experience."