Nanook, Man of Aran, Moana… we can say that most of Robert Flaherty’s cinematography has always been surrounded by water. Man pushed to the limit in his daily battle against the forces of nature is undoubtedly best shown in his film on the inhabitants of this archipelago on the west coast of Ireland. Filmed in the 1930’s like Jean Epstein’s film, which also forms part of this programme, it shares this passion for the last inhabitants on the ends of the earth. Flaherty shows us shark hunting, potato planting, the days and hours of this family isolated from the comfortable life or developing world. The harsh battle of the human silhouettes faced with the immense waves lashing against the screen shows us that death was represented as natural blending to white at the start of the film industry.
Robert J. Flaherty
(Michigan, 1884 – Vermont, 1951)
Mining engineer, explorer and cartographer before becoming a filmmaker, the American, Robert Joseph Flaherty used his training to lay the foundations of modern documentary film, stamping the dramatic feel on the genre, which the "pure" documentaries lacked. With the ethnographic vision of a research filmmaker, Flaherty always sought people who were not contaminated by industrialised society, applying his working method based on observation-participation. He did so in Polynesia with Moana (1926), on the British Isles in Man of Aran (1934) or in Canada, where he lived with the Inuits to film Nanook of the North (1922), considered to be the first documentary film in the history of film.
Nanook of the North (1922)
The Pottery Maker (1925)
The Twenty-four Dollar Island (1927)
White Shadows in the South Seas (1928)
Acoma the Sky City (1929)
Industrial Britain (1931)
Man of Aran (1934)
Elephant Boy (1937)
The Land (1942)
Louisiana Story (1948)
The Titan: Story of Michelangelo (1950)