Segments in this Video

Flaherty's "Nanook of the North" (03:15)


In 1920, Robert Flaherty became the father of documentary film when he spent a year with an Inuit tribe and created "Nanook of the North." A modern-day film crew revisits the same village.

Flaherty's Historical Photographs (03:08)

Flaherty's film and photos are a virtual history book for the Inuit people, who pinpoint images of old family members and friends.

Flaherty Films Man's Environment (04:09)

When "Nanook" was filmed, the Inuits did not understand the technology of film. Flaherty believed man should be filmed in his natural environment, not in a movie studio.

Inaccuracies in Flaherty's Film (03:09)

An Inuit claims portions of Flaherty's film were "doctored" and many scenes were staged. Hunting methods and clothing in the film are inconsistent with Inuit reality.

Inuits Review Flaherty's Film Facts (03:49)

In 1987, Charlie, a friend of Nanook's, recalls filming with Flaherty. Nanook had a hard time being serious on film, and the Inuits find the staged scenes in Flaherty's film hilarious.

Flaherty's Inuit Wives (03:05)

Charlie recalls actresses in "Nanook" were not Nanook's wives, but Flaherty's. Flaherty staged what the Inuits would wear, what tools they would use, and how they would behave during filming.

Modern Day Inuits (03:01)

Modern day Inuits shop at grocery stores but still hunt in mass quantities. They once received free sugar from the "white man," but now they have to pay for it.

Nanook Dies of Hunger (03:22)

Flaherty returns to the United States, and his film becomes world famous. Nanook himself dies of hunger while on a hunting expedition.

Flaherty Abandons His Child (04:18)

Flaherty's grandchild recalls that her father considers all Inuit tribesmen his real father, as Flaherty left and abandoned him. Inuits now hunt seals using snow mobiles and rifles.

Inuit Way of Life in the 1950s (03:07)

A modern day film maker compares the Inuit's way of life in "Nanook" with their customs in the 1950s, and notes there is little difference.

Inuit Hunting Quotas (03:07)

Inuit people must now abide by hunting quotas, such as using only the telescopes on their rifles to watch the caribou.

Inuits in the 1980s (03:34)

Inuit students in the 1980s attend a modern school and wear modern clothes. Teachers teach students about their culture and the old way of life and how the Inuits survived.

Inuits' Hunting Lifestyle (05:35)

School children participate in a goose calling contest. Hunters explain that although the frozen wilderness appears barren, it is actually teaming with life. Ice fishing is demonstrated.

Inuits Skin and Gut a Dead Seal (06:33)

Inuit school children are shown how to skin and gut a dead seal. They drink the blood and eat the guts raw. (Very graphic)

Inuit Heritage in Modern Times (02:39)

While modern Inuits watch "Nanook of the North," a film maker ponders whether they will be able to hold on to their heritage amidst the encroachment of modernism.

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Nanook Revisited

DVD Price: $169.95
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Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North created the very genre of film documentary, with its documentation of Nanook the Inuit and the Eskimo traditions which were even then being threatened by the influences of whites. This program revisits the site of Flaherty’s filming, and learns that he staged much of what he filmed, sired children to whose future he paid no heed, and is himself now part of Inuit myth. (60 minutes)

Length: 55 minutes

Item#: BVL2250

ISBN: 978-1-4213-2917-8

Copyright date: ©1990

Closed Captioned

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Recommended by Gary Handman, QuickVids.

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.