Predictability soothes some people. To others it's a curse. January in Minnesota. The thermometer read -17F (-27C) last night. Heartier souls than I do not need to look beyond their inner resolve to survive a Minnesota winter. Bring the bassinet. I am in a fetal position.
In my defense, I plead it's the womb effect of curtains that remain shut. A feeble barricade against the north wind. Bed sheets hang in interior openings to keep my drawings from ruffling to the ceiling, like paper airplanes on the drafts.
My daughter came home from school recently, enraptured with the film: Nanook of the North. Curious, I got my hands on a copy and suggested we gather as a family to watch on winter's coldest night. We'd enjoy a sensory perception of Inuit life. A bright bunch, they knew I was fixated on the sense of cold -- and a little on the Inuit's taste for raw meat. Would I swap Sushi for popcorn? I watched it alone.
Nanook of the North preview
(Rent or buy the film to see the scenes where the pace picks up... and winter survival.)
Nanook is a silent film with upbeat orchestration that dates the film more than the placard subtitles. I think Disney mimicked the soundtrack for their "documentary" film White Wilderness.
Flaherty's film is an idealized portrait of traditional Inuit life in the early 20th century. It is considered salvage ethnography. Anyone who wants to salvage the last vestiges of my life as a luddite artist in a frigid home better film a utopian image. Give me a minute to put on my half-fingered gloves and grab my ink pot -- while my husband expertly stokes the fire near my desk.
Outside our cloaked windows, I've discovered my daughter is building an igloo on the shore of our frozen lake. Shimmering. Romantic. Idyll. There is no way I'll chew her frozen boots soft like an Inuit mother.
-Robert J. Flaherty's own account of filming the first theatrical documentary film can be found HERE.
-Interesting background information on Robert Flaherty, and expeditions to the land of the Inuit, is detailed on Cinema Web. CLICK HERE
- Nanook of the North DVD information: at amazon.com. The ability to jump in and out of winter weather with my controller makes me giddy.