Director: Sarah Gavron
Running time: 78 mins
Synopsis: Shot over one year, this documentary follows the daily lives of the native people of Niaqornat in Northern Greenland. It is an isolated society, where dogs outnumber humans by almost two to one.
This humbling film not only shines a light on a world that would otherwise be unknown to the vast majority of people, but it also tells several fascinating stories. The lives of four people, out of a population of 59, are the main protagonists: the only teenager in the village, the mayor/chief hunter, the oldest female, and a mainland Inuit who moved to the village after meeting his indigenous partner on the web.
The overarching story focuses on the potentially permanent closure of the village, as a result of its main source of income being shut down (the fish factory), which would force the people of Niarqornat to completely change their way of life and move to one of the cities. Some crucial and subversive issues are raised by the inhabitants, including the damage to their livelihood caused by anti-fur campaigners, even though the Inuits have more respect for nature than most, and only kill what they need to survive.
Subversives aside, the cinematography is illuminating and bold, whilst the content successfully delves into the culture of these relatively mysterious people, although it does leave one or two minor threads untied.
The humbling aspect of the film derives from the demeanour of the Inuits themselves. Despite struggling to maintain a simplistic life in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by a harsh icy climate, and having no sun for several months of the year, the people are optimistic and helpful; virtues a lot of people in the western world rarely display.
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