Nanook of the North

Nanook of the North ★★★

A stunning documentary that captures the beauty of everyday life, with a seemingly high regard for its subjects. Several scenes are elegantly captured and absolutely fascinating, and had I not researched Flaherty’s behind-the-scenes strategy, I’d like and appreciate the film a lot more.

Unfortunately, not only is a large portion of the footage staged, but it’s also untruthful: Flaherty went out of his way to make his subjects seem less technologically-advanced and culturally-savvy than they actually were. A simple explanation of his goal — which, apparently, was to capture the Inuit lifestyle before European colonization — would make all the difference, but since the filmmaker presents his footage as complete truth, he perpetuates unfair stereotypes and betrays the documentary genre that he helped create.

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