Film 60 in the “1001 Films to See Before You Die” challenge was 1922’s “Nanook of the North”. I didn’t know much going into it apart from the main focus of the film. It’s about the life of eskimos and how they go through their day to day lives. After seeing this film, I really don’t fancy having any form of fish/seafood anytime soon. I have seen six fish get their heads bitten off and both a seal and a walrus skinned and have its insides gutted out for food. I’ve seen people lick the blood of their blades after cutting them open. I almost vomited watching this. It really doesn’t help that this film dragged right from the start. I started yawning around the 10 minute mark, nearly turned it off from boredom around the 24 minute mark and for whatever reason I kept watching hoping something might happen. And something happened in the form of animals getting killed. It is reported that director Robert Flaherty staged a lot of the documentary. Starting with the fact that Nanook was actually a character and not married to Nyla at all. It’s pretty clear at points when Flaherty is barking out orders at them in the film. One thing I think is staged is right at the beginning when Nanook pulls out four other people and a baby from inside a kayak. How they all managed to fit in there is one thing but something I will probably never get an answer to. When the film was released in 1922, The New York Times wrote “Besides this film the usual photoplay, the so-called ‘dramatic’ work of the screen, becomes as think and blank as the celluloid on which it is printed.” The film was rejected by five distributors before Pathé finally agreed to take it on. If you have seen this film, then let me know what you think in the comments. Here is what I had to say while watching 1922’s “Nanook of the North”
Film – Nanook of the North
Year – 1922
Director – Robert J. Flaherty
Staring – Allakariallak, Nyla, Allee
IMDb Rating – 7.8/10
My Rating – 4.9/10
Lots of reading
Far too much reading
Why the director insists on telling us his backstory I will never know
Have a guess what’s next… MORE READING!!!
I can’t see a thing
Here’s a map of where we’re filming this – Near Hudson Bay
So this is Nanook
And Nyla… The Smiling One
Row Row Row Your Boat, Gently Down the Stream
Wait… his wife was inside the kayak!!!
AND THE BABY!!!
AND ANOTHER PERSON!!!
AND ANOTHER!! – There’s no way 4 humans and a baby can fit inside a kayak
Reading…. AGAIN – Think I need to lay off the Caps Lock
Don’t you hate it when you can’t start a campfire
Cover the kayak in sealskin?!?
Time to trek to the river
The kayak is covered in seal and walrus skin to protect it
10 minutes in and I’m already yawning
Nanook’s off hunting
Nanook paid for the fur and supplies with beads and candy
He also has a large collection of husky dogs
How to “can your voice” with Nanook – Use a record player
Play this record… it Enrico Caruso!!!
Don’t eat the record
Those kids are eating lard
Medicine for kids is gin/vodka!
Nanook has arrived at an area to go hunting
Better start with some fishing
Nanook uses ivory as bait
Nanook has caught a fish and immidiatly bites it head off
That’s a big fish he’s just caught and killed
In total, Nanook caught six fish for his family to eat
Someone boards Nanook’s kayak and lays chest first on the fish
Why is everyone in such a rush?
Starting to fall asleep
This film is already starting to drag and I’m now 24 minutes in
They’ve got one!!
This walrus must be heavy as it’s taking four of them to pull it to shore
Two tons the film has told me
The other walrus’ have come to have their friend but it’s too late
They just showed them chop off and gut a walrus
And now he’s licking the walrus blood off of his blade
WINTER’S ARRIVE – Better get my big coat out
I seriously have no idea of what’s happening
Am I watching the Top Gear North Pole challenge if all they showed was just Richard Hammond and the dogs?
Starting to loose interest
A fox has blocked their path – Better take the long way round
Nanook has found a hole in the ice and crawls inside it and pulls out an animal
I think it’s a fox… but foxes don’t swim under ice
Best make camp here
Time to build an igloo
So… they use their tongues to lube blades
Hey kids, if you can’t afford a sled when it snows, just throw yourselves off a hill and use your body as a sled
This child looks about as bored as I am
And that’s how you make an igloo
That took an hour to build?!? – If only it took builders that long to build stuff today
Back to hunting
That ice is thick but Nanook carves through it and takes the chunk to the igloo and uses it as a window
The spare piece is used as a sun reflector
All they have for food a one seal
And now to seal the door back in and leave my wife and child to die
Better train my other child how to be a hunter
He’s a mini Robin Hood
Better train by shooting arrows at this snowman shaped polar bear
Wake up you lazy bastards
Still got 30 minu….
Sorry I got distracted as everyone is nude!!!
Chewing boots makes them softer!?!
What’s for breakfast? The insides of the seal
Eskimo kisses is when you rub noses with someone
Nanook put the kayak on top of the igloo so the dogs couldn’t eat it
Is he licking the seal skin covered kayak?
I am slowly getting grossed out
MORE FUCKING READING!!!
It’s a little hard to read when you’re half asleep
Back to hunting for more food
Nanook has caught something and whatever it is is putting up a fight
At this point you’d just give up, not Nanook
Eventually he gets some help
Nanook has caught a… SEAL
No wonder it took a while… IT’S HUGE!!!
Why did you have to show Nanook cut open and gut and skin a seal
I now feel sick and want to vomit
That dog really wants a piece of that seal
They’re playing tug of war with the seal innards
Excuse me while I vomit
THANKFULLY THE FILM HAS ENDED