What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Nanook of the North is a 1922 documentary -- considered by many to be the first -- and is a culturally sensitive chronicle of an Inuit family's struggles to survive in harsh Arctic conditions. As such, there are many scenes where Nanook and other hunters are shown killing animals like seals, foxes, walruses, and fish. These killings may be too graphic for younger viewers, but for teens and adults interested in documentary films, it's is an essential masterpiece.
- Families can talk about how cultural similarities and differences are presented in the film. Can you relate to any of the family's experiences? Since this is a silent film, how is the text used to explain background, to set scenes, to explain what Nanook is doing and why?
- What challenges and difficulties do you think the director, Robert J. Flaherty, faced as he spent a year filming the daily lives of Nanook and his family?
- Since this is considered to be the first documentary film, what similarities and differences do you see between this and other documentaries you have seen?