Nanook of the North

Nanuk l'esquimese
by Robert J. Flaherty Fiction Usa, Francia 1922 75'

With the aim of providing immediate, sincere testimony of the existence of a human group, Flaherty spent much time together with the clan portrayed in Nanook - as he would do in all the preparatory phases for his later films. This approach allowed the director to transform reality into a cinematographic style, in which images are signs of real objects, testimony to a world that exists; there are no visual tricks, no invented landscapes or transformed actors; everything is a sign of tangible existence. Nanook is the real name of a man that lives in the polar north. He is strong and healthy, and fights for his survival together with his group. The lean narrative - which would become a Flaherty trademark, concentrates on Nanook and his daily life.The film is void of all references to folklore; the protagonist's existence is typical of his people. Yet in recording the lives of these people, Flaherty sets himself apart from the standard film-reports of the period, not only for the depth of his style, but mainly for his continuous selection of events and elements which characterize the entire human group. True, at times the captions reveal a certain apprehension still badgering the honest reporter, which is understandable if we remember it was Flaherty's first film.The film premiered at the Capitol cinema in New York, in late 1922. Audience reaction was decidedly neutral, while several critics expressed a negative judgement - only to rethink their position a few weeks later. Nanook was acclaimed throughout Europe; it ran for six months in London, and was also a hit in Paris, Rome and Berlin.


Robert J. Flaherty


Usa, Francia

Film submission

23° Festival


01 October - 04 October 2020

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