Nanook of the North

By Kit Macdonald



Published on February 1, 2024

Robert J. Flaherty's classic 1922 film is widely considered to be the first popular feature-length documentary, and earned its director the title “the father of the ethnographic film”. It tells the story of Inuit hunter Nanook and his family as they struggle to survive in the harsh conditions of Canada’s Hudson Bay region. Its legacy is a little complicated: Flaherty staged some scenes, asked his subjects to return to traditions they had abandoned generations ago, and was accused of "exoticising" the Inuit at times.

Still, the wonderful aspects of Nanook of the North outweigh these gripes, especially if you treat the film as a brilliantly realised drama rather than a documentary. Flaherty had been going on expeditions to the Arctic for a decade before making Nanook, and his knowledge of and love for the region and its inhabitants shines through in this cinematic milestone.

February 25, 2024
Opening hours
17:00 – 18:15