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Eight: Truth Slippery as Ice January 23, 2014

Posted by The Typist in 365, Creative Non-Fiction, cryptical envelopment, New Orleans, The Narrative, The Typist, Toulouse Street.

Last night I watched Nanook of the North, considered the precursor to all documentary and ethnographic film making. It is entirely staged, with selected photogenic Inuit portraying a “family”. One woman in class was Googling during break and said Nyla the wife in the film was actually film maker Robert Flaherty’s woman. At the time of filming, the Inuit of eastern Hudson’s bay were already being integrated into the 20th century life style that would later destroy their way of life, including rifles, outboard engines, Western clothes. It was, in formal terms, a fiction, an entertainment produced for Pantone films in 1922.

We then watched People of the Seal, a 1970s documentary about the last group of Inuit to be settled into villages by the Canadian government. I watched a man wield precisely the design of fish spear, a peculiar forked arrangement with the spear point in the middle, used by Nanook. I watched them build an Igloo precisely as Nanook and his “family” did. I watch them hunting seals precisely as Nanook did, but with more documentary detail.

Everything in Nanook is fabricated. Everything in Nanook, allowing for the filmmaker’s point of view, is authentic.

Authenticity, we learn, is one of the slipperiest words in the dictionary.

Everything on this blog is authentic.


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