Robert Flaherty was an explorer before turning his hand to film making and he uses his camera to capture wild nature and the people who live in it. For him, making documentaries is a way to travel the world, discover new horizons and meet other cultures. For Nanook of the North he heads to the icy cold wilderness of northern Canada to follow the Inuit community to which Nanook and his family belong. For Nanook and those dear to him, every day is a fight for survival against hunger and cold. Robert Flaherty films with precision this arduous life where hunting and fishing are key parts of the daily routine. It is particularly interesting when he shows the locals use intricate and spectacular ancient traditional techniques for catching game. For instance, Nanook taps the water with a fishing line that he holds in his hand and the catches a salmon with nothing but a stick with three hooks thanks to a swift and accurate movement. Similarly, when the wind starts to blow dangerously hard, Flaherty chronicles every step of the building of an igloo, from the cutting of ice into bricks to their stacking on top of each other to form a solid shelter from snow storms. The beauty and power of the film comes from showing the majesty of this glacial and sometimes dangerous natural environment (the long shots of the pack ice are absolutely magnificent) and the way people manage to live in harmony with it despite the austere conditions. Flaherty alternates between moments when the Inuits organise to survive in the hostile climate to times when they are with their families. With his wife and baby, Nanook is wonderfully tender and seems totally fulfilled: happy and serene. Perhaps that is the film's lesson: that despite day-to-day difficulties, it is possible to live happily and free.Read more Show less
From age 5.
Benhsi offers this course for young cinema lovers eager to discover true stories that can be upsetting, moving, exotic, funny or even sporting. Each of these documentary films opens a window on a world, enabling us to meet individuals who gives us insights into who they are, where they live, and how. The cast of heroes even includes animals, since they too have (true) stories to tell us!