Nanook of the North

Nanook of the North

When it comes to films that have left their mark on the history of cinema, and Nanook of the North is, without doubt, such a film, words can seem – and perhaps indeed are – inadequate; so very many things happen in this landmark documentary, and all of such significance, that it is hard to know what to speak of first. Nevertheless, beyond the academic and theoretical approaches to the film that focus on its historical significance given the huge influence it has exerted on the documentary form more generally (and on the ethnographic documentary and observational cinema specifically), we must not forget that, first and foremost, Nanook of the North delineates that which we call the filmic experience. By transporting us to the ends of the earth, to a place that people living in cities could not easily reach or safely find themselves, and by offering up what is – even by today’s standards – a thrillingly evocative snapshot of the lives of the Inuit (an indigenous people inhabiting the Arctic Circle), this enduring gem cut by Robert Flaherty functions as a precious testament to the power of cinema, one that expands through observation the knowledge and horizons of its audience while also unsparingly presenting them with a magic and beauty that is pristine.

Screening Schedule

No physical screenings scheduled.

Direction: Robert J. Flaherty
Cinematography: Robert J. Flaherty
Editing: Robert J. Flaherty
Producers: Robert J. Flaherty
Format: HD
Color: B/W
Production Country: USA
Production Year: 1922
Duration: 78'
Awards/Distinctions: National Film Registry – Library of Congress 1989

Robert J. Flaherty


1922 Nanook of the North
1925 The Pottery-Maker (short)
1926 Moana
1927 The Twenty-Four Dollar Island (short)
1931 Industrial Britain (short)
1933 The English Potter (short)
1934 Man of Aran
1942 The Land