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Nanook Revisited - please comment below

Page history last edited by PBworks 13 years, 5 months ago
 Film Review: Nanook Revisited

Film Info



55 minutes

The film "Nanook Revisited" made in 1990 revisits the Inuit and sites filmed by anthropologist Robert Flaherty in 1922 in his prize-winning film "documentary" "Nanook of the North." In talking to the Inuit people the filmmakers realize that Flaherty was presenting a very traditional picture of the Inuit; he was trying to document Inuit traditions and past according to the European imagination of the time. Flaherty says "I want to document these traditions before they are lost." Flaherty fails to see that culture is not lost, but is instead transformed. Pay attention to the parts where the Inuit point out that Flaherty did not allow them to use any steel instruments or weapons in the film, when he stages the Inuit "encounter" with the phonograph as they had known about phonographs before then, and the scene where he makes the Inuit men wear polar bear pants because this is how the European imagination constructed the Inuit.
Many of the scenes of 1922 film "Nanook of the North" are staged performances of traditional Inuit life: the pulling of the "seal" through the breathing hole, the shutting of the igloos from the outside, the sleeping scene outside where Flaherty had more light to do his filming. The main character in the film's name is simplified by Flaherty for a western audience and becomes "Nanook". "Nanook" has a hard time keeping a straight face when performing his culture: pretending to hunt, wearing polar bear pants and fitting in to Flaherty's performance instructions. This "documentary" is in fact more like a feature film. What does the film Nanook of the North mean to the contemporary Inuit? Why do they laugh? Why is the film so popular? What parts do the Inuit find offensive and why? What parts do they consider valuable or funny and why? How does Flaherty fit into their mythologies, their life?
What is the traditional social organization and economic system of the Inuit? How did they live in the past? How do they live today? What are the differences between the hunting strategies viewed in "Nanook of the North" and the ones we see in the film today? What does hunting mean to the contemporary Inuit? What different economic systems do the contemporary Inuit use? How do they combine traditional subsistence strategies with those of industrial consumer culture? Do they see these different strategies as conflicting? What contemporary global material elements, technologies and foods are used by the Inuit and how do they incorporate them into their lives? What are the traditional and contemporary Inuit modes and means of production?
What is environmental determinism? What are the benefits of this approach? How does the Artic environment influence Inuit economic and social systems and culture? What aspects of the Inuit economic systems and culture are independent from the environment?
What traditional Inuit notions are maintained and taught to the children? What are the children taught about hunting and how to cut up seals? Is this a way to maintain their traditions, a form of subsistence, or both? Why did many of you cringe when you saw the seal being cut up, distributed and eaten at the Inuit school? What are your own cultural biases with regards to the viewing or touching of flesh and blood? How did the Inuit children react to the cutting up of the seal? How was it different from yours? What would happen if the Inuit had the same reservations about viewing or touching of flesh and blood that some of you have? What would happen to their hunting traditions, skills and practices?
Consider the notion of "raw meat". Think about the way culture shapes your perceptions and understanding of the world. "The notion of 'raw meat' is a very southern perception," the schoolmaster says. "We do not think we are eating raw meat, we are eating seal. This is seal." Why was the eating of seal ("raw meat") and the drinking of blood important for the Inuit given the lack of fruits and vegetables in the area? What other values do the Inuit attribute to fresh blood and seal?
Following the film, we will have a discussion on the following:
Culture change
The reactions of the community to the film
Traditional and contemporary Inuit modes and means of production
How children are taught traditional values
How is raw meat considered by the Eskimo past and present?
Begin your postings here . . .



[Dan McConvey -   dpm5@Geneseo.edu    9-17]


Film: Nanook Revisited



1.  I thought it was interesting how Flaherty had Nanook where polar bear fur pants, and the phonograph scene were staged.     The film does give good insight on Nanook’s culture, but these small “staged” instances show that Flaherty was in fact catering to and perpetuating set stereotypes about Eskimos already held by the South.  The feigned ignorance about the phonograph and the incorrect portrayal of standard clothing is dangerously reminiscent of blackface minstrel shows and the stereotypical  Amos ‘N Andy show in American culture. 


2.  It was nice that the Eskimo had a video account of their past.  The photos and film were seen as a big family album, which also shows how closeknit the Eskimo kinship is.


3.  Flaherty did have very good intentions.  He wanted to show their “primitive majesty.”  He had a genuine respect for these people and wanted to try to capture the essense of their culture. 



[Shamiran Warda, sw11@geneseo.edu 9/15]
Film: Nanook Revisited
1.    I found “Nanook Revisited” fascinating, especially after watching “Nanook of the North.” Seeing how some of the scenes were not in actual fact true but more like acts, made me think of how much you can truly trust a film.  At first glimpse you believe everything you see, at least I did.  However, after watching the second part of it I was very interested to find out that some of those scenes were just an act to make the film better, more interesting and in all, more entertaining.
2.    Seeing the life of an Inuit today, it is not much different than that of our own. Technology has somehow managed to reach these people, millions of miles away, which shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone. It is amazing how fast people can adapt to new things; I mean here in this film, the Inuit have been taught what their great ancestors were taught, yet somehow they have also managed to adopt a new life style that fits according to the changing world. 
3.    Another thing I enjoyed in watching this film is how the education system worked with the Inuit children. It does not come to a shock observing the teachers teaching the children the traditional practices in their classrooms, such as how to cut the seal.  In addition, the game of who can make the best animal noise, I found it to be intersecting as well. Already they are preparing the children for what the world has in store for them.  In all, I believe this film opens ones eyes a little more to the true reality of the Inuit people


[Isobel Connors, icc2@geneseo.edu, 9/15]


Film:  Nanook Revisited


1. I enjoyed watching the reactions of the Inuit who viewed "Nanook of the North" in this film.  I was surprised that they found humor in a lot of the same scenes that our class took pleasure in. 

2. After discovering the many staged scenes Flaherty filmed, I feel a bit disillusioned.  I realize that Flaherty wanted to entice his audience by depicting a fierce struggle of man vs. nature; however, some of the scenes seem unneccesary in that respect.  "Nanook's" struggle with catching the seal seems especially peculiar, knowing that there were people pulling the other end of the rope.  I wonder why he chose to film this scene:  perhaps to add some comic relief to the film?

3. Watching the Inuit school children cut open the seal was particularly intriguing.  As disturbing as this practice may seem from an American perspective, I am glad they included the scene in the film.  Not only is Flaherty's depiction of this aspect of Inuit culture verified, but we are able to better understand the importance of seal meat and blood to Inuit survival.





[Cameron Mack, cfm6@geneseo.edu, 9/15]


Film: Nanook Revisited


After viewing this film, I noticed many new things about the original Nanook. I hadn't really thought about the false reality that Flaherty creates with his film. Although it is with the best intentions (allowing us to view traditional Inuit people), it is clear that some damage could have been done from the film. I can see how it could be offensive to the locals who undertstand that Nanook does not properly portray their culture and society. I respect what Flaherty's goal was, however, I understand the sensitive subject that surrounds the film. I got the impression that the director of Nanook Revisited wished to do the same as Flaherty did; capture a classic culture in their everday life. I think that both men succeeded in their searches.

To see the reactions of the locals when watching Nanook was very interesting. Although the reactions were mixed, it was clear that many of the people had uneasy feelings about it. The villagers did seem to enjoy the film however. It was nice to view these seemingly primitive people in their actual culture, not some westernized notion that we've created.

The most unique scene, to me, was when they were showing the children how to gut a seal. It seems so inhumane, however, the white school teacher points out that to them, it isn't about the violence or the eating of raw flesh; rather it's about the proper nutrition. That scene could teach a lot of close minded people (who jump to conclusions about certain societies) that it is important to familiarize yourself with a group prior to judging them.



[Stephanie Aquilina sma8@geneseo.edu 9/12]


Film: Nanook Revisited


1) After watching Nanook Revisited, it was obvious that the Inuits were overall very grateful for Flaherty’s film and photos because they provided for them a tangible image of their past. Although Flaherty’s input represents the southern point of view and on several occasions purposefully misrepresents northern culture in the 1920s, the Inuits employed a sense of humor while viewing it, and seemed to genuinely enjoy watching their history in action. If not for Flaherty, perhaps they would never have had the gift of “looking through a photo album” of themselves and their ancestors.

2) I found it very interesting to observe the way in which all members of Inuit society, including young children, were able to watch people gut out and eat a seal with eagerness and attentiveness. Inuits were raised their entire lives understanding the realities of life and witnessing the food chain actively taking place. In American culture, we tend to be squeamish when witnessing such “brutality” because the majority of us are not responsible for hunting and gathering for our sustenance, and are entirely detached from the process of killing animas; most children in America only recognize the furry stuffed representations of such creatures. Inuit children even finger-painted in the seal’s blood!

3) I enjoyed the glimpse into Inuit education, especially examining how teachers turned what used to be traditional practices into classroom exercises – such as the goose call contest, the seal-slicing demonstration, and by explaining traditional life through stories and props. It seems to be the “contemporary” mode of cultural transmission as Inuit societies become modernized. It would be interesting to observe the family dynamics in these situations – how parents treat traditional practices and the extent to which they pressure their children to maintain these customs or to commit to more modern lifestyles. END



Charlie Genao Cg7@geneseo .edu 9/13/07


Film: Nanook Revisited


1. I was really suprise to see the negative attiudes the people had towards the filmmaker. I also thought that the film represented an ethnocentric point of view. I believe that this film shows us that we should not believe what our eyes shows us.


2. I can not believe how fake the movie was and the filmmaker. He had two wives but in the Nanook of the North (1st one) the wives were  shown to be of Nanook. What is that saying? "believe none of what you see and half of what you hear" It just shows that we should critique second hand information presented to us.


3. The filmmaker is such a lowlife that he would force the people to act Inuit when the culture was long gone/ and he left his children to be raised by someone else. But the film had a more reality touch to it. The movie showed the Inuit actually trying to regain thier culture by seeing children learning how to cut a seal. Today the Culture is much more Westernized because the use snowmobiles instead of sleds and rifles instead of spears.



[Jennifer Mahoney, jrm30@geneseo.edu,9/12]


Film: Nanook Revisited


1. I found it inspiring that though the Inuit have changed over time they have been able to keep many of their traditions alive, as shown by the children in the goose calling competition.

2. At first I found it aggravating that so much of Flaherty’s original movie was staged. However, it is important to appreciate the documentary for the history it was able to maintain and as a successful, feature film.

3. It was interesting to see the ways in which the Inuit have used technology to provide themselves a more comfortable life. It would be very interesting to see how much more modern technology they have incorporated over the past 20 years.


[Alfred Dilluvio, ajd12@geneseo.edu, 9/12]
Film: Nanook Revisited
1. Nanook revisited is interesting when we think of what anthropologists value in another culture. They want to go and explore the culture and its values before they are lost so to speak. They want to soak up all the primitive aspects of a culture which they think define it. However, anthropologists of the western world have to understand that aspects of culture are not lost, cultures merely progress with the times. Nanook revisited seems to represent interesting proof of this.
2. I am glad that we see a group of Inuit laughing and appreciating Flaherty's work. Its nice to see this appreciation of his film because it is important to see how the culture reacts to their portrayal.
3. The film does a nice job clearing up any misperceptions people may have had about Inuit. It is important to understand that they do still have many cultural practices from earlier times, but for the most part, they are people who live and understand the world in a similar way to ourselves. The shots of the children in the school are particularly fascinating because it shows us a look many people dont think happens.




[Rebecca Coons, rsc2@geneseo.edu, 9/12]


Film: Nanook Revisited


1- I was mostly surprised at the fact that even though Inuit people knew how much of Flaherty's film was staged they loved it. It was great to see the reaction of the culture today with respect to the film. Also, since some of the people had known Flaherty while he was there, it was great to see people's reactions and what ways the filmmaker had influenced the culture (taking wives and having kids for example)

2 - I also was glad to have the "raw" aspect of the seal explained a little more fully. At first I thought it was because they were either a more primative culture or else they were so hungry and food was so scarce that they couldnt wait to get home to eat. I never even considered the nutritional value of raw meat, or thought about the lack of vegetation in the region.

3 - The film made me think about the changes in technology and society since Flaherty's time in their culture, and wonder how much more it has changed since the 80's. END



[Jonathon Baker, jlb22@geneseo.edu, 9/11]


Film: Nanook Revisited


1. I was surprised at the fact that the Eskimo people aknowledge the importance of the film in both in terms of how it pioneered the documentary and provided a lens into the eskimo’s past. While they aknowledge that the film has many doctored parts and is not technologically acurate, they still view is as a legit representation of their history.

2. It was no surprise to me that the part of the film that the Eskimos like the least (find the most offensive?) is the part where they are “shown” the phonograph. It shows them trying to eat the disc, which is probably completely absurd. It makes them look unintelligent. This is especially true because they had actually seen a phonograph before and knew what it did.

3. I found it very interesting that the Eskimo hated sugar when they first tried it. While by itself it’s rather plain still I can hardly imagine someone finding it to taste bad. It was also interesting that the white people didn’t charge the Eskimo for sugar until they wanted it/were dependant on it. Then, they charged a high price for it. This is just one of the times in the film where you hear a hint of resentment towards “Southerners.”



[Elen De Oliveira, emd10@geneseo.edu , 9/12]


Film: Nanook Revisited


1. For me, the most emotional parts of the video turned out to be staged, which was kind of dissapointing to hear. I am aware that this was mostly staged in order to reanact the history of the inuits, but hearing that the catching of the seal and the scenes of surprise at the new technology were all fake, spurred some resentment in me. The fact that his wives were not his own also upset me because it made me wonder if the look of the wife was something flaherty wanted to change. Was he just trying to impress the audience and keep their attention? Or was he giving special attention to the women becuase they were indeed his wives?


2. It was interesting to see that many aspects were indeed the same and that the people could look at the film and appreciate their ancestry. The catching of the seal was still indeed the same so it was interesting to see how the people had excelled.


3. Seeing how they eat raw meat and drink the blood of animals for nutrition purposes really opens your eyes to how different and more advances we are. Like was said in the movie, they do not have the ability to just run and get some fresh fruits for their nutrients. They do the best they can, and as a result they appreciate their surroundings and the food they are given much more.



[Jennifer Ritzenthaler, jkr5@geneseo.edu, 9/11]


Film: Nanook Revisited


1. It was interesting to see the reactions of the people who were in the film, like Nanook and his family, who were able to recount the experience of being taped by Flaherty.


2. It was a little surprising to see all of the things that were faked in the filming of “Nanook of the North.” This includes the seal hunting, polar bear pants, and phonograph seen. While Flaherty may have been trying to capture the past by doing these things, it seems to disrespect the Inuit people by putting them in a role that was not their own.


3. It was a little shocking to see that even in the 1980s, the way things were done by the Inuit were very different. Though the school at first appeared like it could be from the United States, it was certainly different in the respect of the children and faculty skinning a seal and eating it raw.




[Heather Warren, hrw1@geneseo.edu, 9/11]


Film: Nanook Revisited


  1. I think that Nanook Revisited offered some remarkable insight into the movie Nanook of the North concerning just how much of the original movie was staged. Some of the things we saw in the movie we recognized were staged but the Eskimo in the movie pointed out even more that were much less recognizable.
  2. I liked how the movie showed that several of the Eskimo that were interviewed seemed to view Flaherty’s work as a means of conforming their people to the 'white mans ideals' and that much of the movie was untrue, while others who had actually studied Flaherty’s notes and such expressed that it was Flaherty’s method of preserving a culture that had already begun to be tainted by Europeans.
  3. It is also rather interesting to consider that the living and hunting methods of the Eskimo as seen in Nanook of the North (in the 1920’s) are viewed as very outdated and rather funny and yet much of the technology we saw in Nanook Revisited (in the 1980’s) seems almost as outdated to us now (in 2007). END



[Dan Lilly, djl5@geneseo.edu, 9/12]


Film: Nanook Revisited


I was glad the makers of this film took an approach that was skeptical of Flaherty and Nanook of the North but also refrained from trying to take away all of the original film's credibility. Some aspects of Nanook of the North, I think, could even be viewed just as more historical. Nanook and his companions may have known how to use more modern tools than what we saw in Flaherty's film, but because he wouldn't let them use anything they had gotten from "Southerners," we see them in more of a historical context, and it says more about how the Inuit adapted to their environment. The polar bear pants though...that's a little bit much. END



[Laurie Sadofsky, las22@geneseo.edu, 9/12]


Film: Nanook Revisited


  1. It is important to see the response and opinions of the Inuit of the 1980s as they watch Flaherty’s film. Some found the scenes funny, thereby making the documentary seem more like a comedy and less like an ethnographic film. This shows how distant, and therefore humorous, the practices shown in the film really were even at the time the film was made.
  2. One person said that despite some insulting scenes, like the one with the phonograph, the film and the pictures taken are the only photographic record from that region at the time.
  3. Although most of us cringed while watching the seal being sliced open and eaten raw, it is normal in their culture. The man making the film stressed that the word raw is a Western or “southern” term that we added. To them they were simply eating seal.




[Dave Roberts, dlr4@geneseo.edu, 9-12]


Film: Nanook Revisited


1. An image from the film that stuck out in my mind was that of the cutouts from "southern" (white man's) magazines with the head of the Inuit children pasted on. It was a telling metaphor for the cultural diffusion and assimilation of the Inuit into the culture of the white.


2. The scene with the children eating the seal was great. To them, they were not in front of a gory scene, but a food for them to share and enjoy. I myself was amused because it looked like a scene from a zombie movie, with the children's faces covered in blood, gnawing on bones. That in and of itself is telling of our cultural differences.


3. The fact that the film offered critique from Nanook's descendants and member of his "community" was useful and informative. I did not know that Flaherty prohibited Nanook from using the tools of the "white man", or that the seal hunt was completely fabricated. These elements add another layer of insight into Flaherty's film. To be honest, I am glad Flaherty only let Nanook use "native" hunting methods. Although it may not have been accurate for the time, it captured an aspect of Inuit life that has since become extinct.





[Skye Naslund, sjn1@geneseo.edu, 9-12-07]


Film: Nanook Revisited


1-The concept of cleanliness in Inuit culture varies significantly from ours. During the scene where the seal was carved up in the schoolhouse, they took care to properly clean it, but there was still blood everywhere. This goes to show that to them blood is considered clean, whereas in our culture most people would consider it dirty and be grossed out by the puddle of it on the floor.

2-The worldview of the Inuit is very different to our own. They talk about our culture as being of the south. They divide themselves from the rest of the world based on geography. In the United States we divide the world more commonly based on development. We refer to ourselves as part of the developed world or the first world, separated from those in the developing or third world. We do sometimes refer to ourselves as the West, but the division between East and West and the Global South is still an economic/development division as opposed to a truly geographical one.

3-It was very interesting to hear that Nanook laughed through the entire film. While the Inuit realize the importance of the film, they find it very humorous. If someone from another culture had approached any of us to dress in the clothing of the pilgrims and reenact the first thanksgiving so that they could show their culture what Americans are like I don’t think that we would be able to resist laughing either.



[Anne Kim, ak13@geneseo.edu, 9/12]


Film: "Nanook Revisited"


1. I found it quite amusing to see the inhabitants’ reactions to the films. Especially how many of them thought/realized that it was their pictures on the wall.

2. When I first saw “Nanook of the North”, and saw them eating the seal, I just assumed that they were eating it “raw” because it was primitive. I assumed that Flaherty wanted to conserve the sense of primitiveness within their world and culture. However, after watching “Nanook Revisited”, I realized that eating “raw” seal is just their culture and that it is necessary for their nutrition and lives.

3. It is also very apparent that times have changed and many things have advanced since the first film. There are more snowmobiles than snow dogs and sleds. There are homes instead of igloos. In addition, there are different religions, such as the Anglican Church.





[Lanh Nguyen, ltn2@geneseo.edu, 9/12]


Film: Nanook Revisited


1.        1. The most memorable moment in the movie for me was when we saw the elder lady pointing and laughing at her own picture on the wall. Her comment and her tone of voice made the moment joyful and silly in a sense.

2.       2. After seeing the fellow community members critique and analyze the original Nanook of the North film, I am able to see the film in a more holistic manner. Instead of taking what I am presented with for face value, I need to do research and discover if what the film makers and anthropologists present are actually real and truthful.

3.       3. The difference of opinion towards raw meat between the native Inuit and the outsiders (Southerners) further adds to the concepts of cultural shock and ethnocentrism. I know I personally viewed the raw meat scenes in the film to be disgusting.




[Dilek Canakci, dc11@geneseo.edu, 9/17]


Film: "Nanook Revisited


“Nanook of the North Revisited” was a great film because it captured the real culture of the people and broke the stereotypes that we expect from such a great culture.  The fact that this film revealed the intelligence of the people and the changes that they have gone through over the years was brilliant.  We saw them practicing their religious activities, their tactics in fishing, and the lives of the children.  As opposed to our culture, the children were extremely comfortable with the fact that they could cut open a seal and be able to play with the blood and have it all over their faces and clothes.  It was one of the best parts of this film because it revealed the different aspects of their culture that are important in their everyday lives; blood and slaughtered animals.




[Lok Yung Yam, ly5@geneseo.edu, 9/17]


Film: Nanook Revisited


1. This film is essential to fully understand Nanook of the North because it reveals its shortcomings.


2. While it does expose some of the weaknesses of Nanook of the North, I don't think its message is to condemn it, but rather, make it clearer for the viewer.


3. The scene where they skin the seal and children are covered in blood was revolting. I don't care if my "Southern culture" shows; I do not need to watch that ever again.




[Kaitlyn Northrop, krn3@geneseo.edu, 9/12]
Nanook Revisited
1.)   I thought it was interesting to see how the audience responded to the film that Flaherty created, with the laughing and joking about how they knew the people and the film. I thought it was interesting that they were trying to pick out themselves and their ancestors in the pictures.
2.)   I think it was good to see this film because it pointed out all of the scenes that Flaherty and staged and gave the viewers more of the truth about what really happens, rather than thinking that everything that was filmed in the original version was true.
3.)   I also thought it was interesting to see how they filmed the 1990 film compared to the one in the twenties. Then comparing everything to the way it would be filmed today. It was interesting to see the technological advances and how things change over time.
[Justin Wilmott, jmw23@geneseo.edu, 9/21]
Nanook Revisited


Nanook Revisited was incredibly interesting to watch because it showed the Inuit’s take on the film, how they enjoy it and laugh at the flaws.  It also showed how cultures have crossed, most specifically the scenes of the school children working on computers, then moving next door to learn how to dress a seal.  However, the most important thing I learned from the film was that it is very easy to believe something on film that might not be true, even more with this film.  Going into it, I thought that because this was made in the 1920’s it would be more raw, uncut footage.  Much to my surprise, editing techniques that are used today to manipulate films were used buy Flaherty, most notably the seal-hunting scene.  Also, I believed that because of the time period, Flaherty would not have stagde a scene such as the phonograph, as I had a preconceived notion in my head that he did not have an agenda other than to show the Inuit’s way of life.  Adding to this point, I found it odd and a bit un-settling that Flaherty did not allow Nanook and his family to use the conventional weapons they had to hunt, or the fact that he had them dress in polar bear pants to fit the stereotype that Flaherty’s audience had.  It was like finding out that Santa Claus was not real.


[Nicole Rothman, ngr1@geneseo.edu, 9/21]
Nanook Revisited
1.    Overall, I found it very interesting to learn that so much of Nanook of the North was scripted. It’s viewed as being one of the first ethnographic films but yet, it’s seems more of it was scripted then it was real.

2.    It was interesting to learn that Nanook wasn’t even his real name and the two women weren’t his real wives

3.    The part with the dead seal in the classroom was disgusting, I could barely deal with dissecting a frog in high school biology, yet the class room was soaked in blood and the kids didn’t seem to mind, they were even blowing up the seal lungs with their mouths… 




[Larkin Kimmerer, llk5@geneseo.edu, 9/22]

Nanook Revisited

1. I liked that all of the faults of the original Nanook were revealed--his false name, Flaherty's wives, only being allowed to wear traditional clothes and use traditional weapons, and the way he laughed so much during the filming because a lot of it was so fake.

2. Although the seal part in the school made my stomach turn, I loved to see the traditional values being taught alongside modern technology. That part of Eskimo culture is such an important one, it is good that they still retain that part of their culture and teach it to the children, instead of being completely modernized.



[Brendan Ryan, bmr4@geneseo.edu, 9/22]


Nanook Revisited


I thought Nanook revisited was a great supplement to seeing the original Nanook.  Or maybe it's the other way around since both are important in their own right.  I think that I probably learned more about the Inuit from Revisted, since it went through how the people had changed since the original film as well debunked some of the myths that Flaherty had perpetrated.  In addition to what I learned about the Inuit themselves I think Revisted gives a good look at the attitude that people had toward Anthropological research back then and it's interesting to compare how methods and attitudes have changed since then. 



[Adam Saunders, ars11@geneseo.edu , 10/21]


Nanook Revisited

Now that we have seen behind the scenes on Nanooks encounter with the foreigners we are able to see just how much of “Hollywood” and how much of a true ethnography it really was. Many of the scenes were acted out and set up which really is a shame to the true ethnographer. However, we must remember that the intent of the filming originally was not to create an ethnography.


Seeing Nanooks ancestors and how they reacted to the film was intriguing. Many of the elders knew who they were as children and could point out their grandparents and parents from the film.


Much has changed for the Inuit since Nanooks time. Western ways and technologies have overturned many of their customs and practices. Even the children now being taught how to gut a seal and the usage of its parts, almost seemed foreign to them.




[Geni Beninati, gb3@geneseo.edu, 10/22]


Nanook Revisited


1)  The most memorable part of this film was peoples reactions to seeing Nanook of the North.  Everyone seemed to have a very positive reaction and were excited to see their ancestors.  Many had very interesting sories about the filming and their family memebers that were shown in the film.

2) I was incredibly dissapointed  to see that much of the film was staged and to hear the filmakers description of how bias the film was. I was surprised that the people did not react more negatively to Flatherty.

3) I had to avert my eyes during the seal eating scene. 



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