Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Nanook's Igloo

Watched Nanook of the North, an influential documentary on an Inuit family's everyday life, made by Robert J. Flaherty around 1920. Although Flaherty was criticized for deceiving the audience by staging actions and distorting Inuits' real lifestyle, the film still offered valuable insights into Inuits' world and opened a whole new ground for documentary filmmaking at that time.

Even today, some knowledges on Inuit traditional living skills seem fresh to me, esp. the construction of igloo - the first time I saw the process on TV. It's quite amazing how fast an igloo was done by Nanook: using a sea lion's teeth as the snow-cutting tool, applying the stable dome structure, the igloo was built in less than an hour! The smarter part is replacing a snow block with an ice block as window and putting the snow piece perpendicular to the window to reflect sunlight. Like to try it one day :)

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