Flaherty and the Documentary Film Film Review by PaxRomana

Flaherty and the Documentary Film
An analysis of Robert Flaherty's influence in the documentary genre of filmmaking, through his 1922 film, "Nanook of the North."
# 103321 | 1,345 words | 5 sources | MLA | 2008 | US
Published on May 02, 2008 in Film (Artist) , Film (Documentary) , Film (History of) , Film (Analysis, Criticism, Etc.)

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This paper analyzes Robert Flaherty's contributions to cinema, particularly with regards to documentaries. It focuses on Flaherty's 1922 documentary film, "Nanook of the North" and how it has become inextricably associated with the development of modern documentary film. The paper analyzes Flaherty's masterful cinematic touch, from shot order to the pacing and treatment of his subjects and explains why he is widely considered one of the most influential filmmakers in the documentary genre.

From the Paper:

"As Nanook declared to Flaherty before the filming of the walrus hunt, "the aggie [film] will come first." Though some modern critics have loudly proclaimed Nanook a fake by contemporary documentary standards, it is important to note that Flaherty can hardly be held accountable to the later standards of a film movement which did not, until he helped create it, exist. Though he drew heavily from historical precedent in nonfiction film and documentary-style presentations, Flaherty stands out because he was perhaps the first to fully integrate traditional ethnographic nonfiction into a satisfying and utterly engaging narrative form. Additionally, making Nanook the protagonist of his film, and portraying him in a respectful light set a precedent for future documentaries. By the time Nanook of the North had circled the globe, it had influenced and inspired filmmakers worldwide and triggered a nonfiction movement that has continued to this day. Flaherty's film contributes to the understanding of film as a whole by posing the most fundamental questions about nonfiction film, asking, what is reality? What is not? Where is the line between the two? Most importantly, Flaherty's Nanook of the North helped establish the often-unacknowledged fact that documentary film is not a newsreel but, first and foremost, art."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Barsam, Richard. The Vision of Robert Flaherty: The Artist as Myth and Filmmaker, ed. Richard Barsam. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 1988.
  • Christopher, J. Robert. Imaging the Arctic, ed. J.C.H. King and Henrietta Lidchi. Seattle, Washington: University of Washington Press, 1998.
  • Jacobs, Lewis. The Documentary Tradition: From Nanook to Woodstock, ed. Lewis Jacobs. New York, New York: Hopkinson and Blake, 1971.
  • Nanook of the North., Dir. Robert Flaherty. Perf. Allakariallak, Nyla, Cunayou, Allee, Allegoo. 1922.
  • The Oxford History of World Cinema, ed. Geoffery Nowell-Smith. Oxford, Great Britain: Oxford University Press, 1996.

Cite this Film Review:

APA Format

Flaherty and the Documentary Film (2008, May 02) Retrieved December 05, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/film-review/flaherty-and-the-documentary-film-103321/

MLA Format

"Flaherty and the Documentary Film" 02 May 2008. Web. 05 December. 2023. <https://www.academon.com/film-review/flaherty-and-the-documentary-film-103321/>