Don't get us wrong, it's still a breathtaking movie (especially if you like birds and/or drugs), but nominating it for Best Documentary is kinda like giving an MMA title to Hulk Hogan.
Nanook of the North -- An Amazing Achievement in Utter Bullshit
Nanook of the North not only is the granddaddy of documentaries (made back in 1922), but is widely considered a masterpiece of the documentary genre and one of the most influential movies ever made. Before Nanook, "documentaries" consisted of static shots of people walking near trains or boring shit like that (it was all Vines, basically). This was the first one that A) lasted more than a few minutes and B) showed something actually worth watching.
For Nanook, director Robert Flaherty went deep into the Alaskan wilderness to steal a glimpse inside the lives of the notoriously closed-off Inuit population. He follows a family headed by the titular Nanook and his two wives, Nyla and Cunayoo, as they build an igloo, hunt seals with spears, and become hilariously confused by modern technology, such as poor Nanook trying to eat a gramophone record.
Via Kurungabaa.netThe original title of the documentary was Fucking Idiot.
The whole thing was almost completely made up. Robert Flaherty was the Michael Moore of the 1920s, only he left more illegitimate Inuit children in his wake.
First of all, "Nanook" was actually named Allakariallak, although we can kind of understand why they changed it. His "wives" were also not his wives, but the "common-law" wives of Flaherty (i.e., his ethnic trophies). They were also renamed: There's no record of Cunayoo's real name, but Nyla's was actually the much plainer "Alice." "Nyla" was suggested by the locals and supposedly meant "the smiling one," but unknown to Flaherty, it was actually a dirty word. (A quick Google search suggests it has something to do with farting.)
They called him Robutt Farterty. Apparently it means "Great White God."
Of course, since Flaherty constructed the whole family from scratch, none of the events filmed were part of their actual lives, either. In order to show to the world how the Inuit really lived, Flaherty simply made them act out scenes from how everyone already thought they did. He asked them to hunt with spears instead of the guns they'd been using for decades, made them dress in furs, and had them build an igloo, even though they'd actually heard of houses by then. Allakariallak was also very familiar with modern technology and knew well not to eat gramophones. Notice how he spends half the movie looking at the camera and smiling?
Via Visualise-it.blogspot.comHe's literally laughing his ass off at the silly shit Flaherty asked him to do for his "documentary."
You can read more from Amanda at Mannafesto or follow her on Twitter to find out just how much writing this article left her completely disillusioned with the world.
Related Reading: Still not full of things that are full of shit? Read our article on professions that are filled with lies. If you think wine tasters aren't lying their asses off, think again. For national stereotypes that are total B.S., take this article out for a spin. You'll learn that British dentistry is actually quite good. End your study in perfidy with this list of well-known dangers that are hugely overhyped.