Nanook of the North

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Ground zero for questions of ethics in documentary filmmaking, Nanook of the North’s controversial reputation is down to the long shadow cast by questions of its authenticity. Sure, Robert Flaherty staged events and facilitated on-screen illusions, blurring objective truths for verisimilitude of effect, but the effect remains – a reconstructed facsimile of the lives of “Nanook (The Bear), his family and little band of followers, ‘Itivimuits’ of Hopewell Sound, Northern Ungava” that never loses sight of its humanity. Struggles of filmmaker and protagonist are synthesised as one breathtaking sequence follows another, the ‘truth’ of the matter increasingly abstracted in a hostile landscape’s indifferent glare.

The_Void

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