1 The First Ethnographic Film: Nanook of the North

1         The First Ethnographic film: Nanook of the North

Nanook of the North has been called the first ethnographic film. The focus is on the daily activities of a family of Itivimuit, a group of Quebec Inuit. On the one hand the film offers amazing views, epic characters and a dramatic narrative. On the other hand the film clearly reflects the zeitgeist of the time period of its production.
Some relevant topics you could look closer at: Explore the ethnographic-ness of this film and why this is, or maybe is not an ethnographic film. One might say that the film reveals as much about the filmmaker as it does about his subjects. To what extent is it the case?

The film: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4kOIzMqso0

Synopsis: Nanook of the North (also known as Nanook of the North: A Story Of Life and Love In the Actual Arctic) is a 1922 silent documentary film by Robert J. Flaherty. The documentary follows the lives of an Inuit, Nanook, and his family as they travel, search for food, and trade in northern Quebec, Canada. Nanook, his wife, Nyla, and their baby, Cunayou, are introduced as fearless heroes who endure rigors “no other race” could survive. The film is considered the first feature-length documentary. Some have criticized Flaherty for staging several sequences, but the film is generally viewed as standing “alone in its stark regard for the courage and ingenuity of its heroes.”

A review of Nanook of the North:http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/great-movie-nanook-of-the-north-1922


Powerpoint presentation  by Bjørn Arntsen