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Nanook of the North / The Wedding of Palo(1922-1934)
No synopsis for Nanook of the North / The Wedding of Palo.
For more about Nanook of the North / The Wedding of Palo and the Nanook of the North / The Wedding of Palo Blu-ray release, see Nanook of the North / The Wedding of Palo Blu-ray Review published by Dr. Svet Atanasov on April 1, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Director: Robert J. Flaherty
This Blu-ray bundle includes the following titles, see individual titles for specs and details:
Nanook of the North / The Wedding of Palo Blu-ray Review
Reviewed by Dr. Svet Atanasov, April 1, 2013
Robert J. Flaherty's "Nanook of the North" (1922) and Knud Rasmussen and Friedrich Dalsheim's "The Wedding of Palo" (1934) arrive on Blu-ray courtesy of Flicker Alley. The supplemental features on this release include six short films: Claude Massot's "Nanook Revisited" (1988), Robert J. Flaherty's "Houses of the Arctic" (1928), Frank E. Kleinschmidt's "Captain Kleinschmidt's Arctic Hunt" (1913) and "Primitive Love" (1927), Louis de Rochemont and Kay Norton's "Eskimo Hunters of Northwestern Alaska" (1949), and Dalton Muir's "Face of the High Arctic" (1953). The release also arrives with a 32-page illustrated booklet featuring excerpts from Robert J. Flaherty's 1924 book My Eskimo Friends and Lawrence Millman's essay "Knud Rasmussen and The Wedding of Palo". With English intertitles. Region-Free.
In the beginning of the century American explorer Robert Flaherty spent approximately six years living and working amongst the Eskimos in the Arctic North. While interacting with them, he shot his first film. However, the negative was lost in a fire, and later on only an edited print of the film was shown in Toronto. This now lost film was what inspired Flaherty to return to the Arctic North and shoot Nanook of the North.
The film is structured as a collage of short episodes, each documenting Nanook and his family's constant struggles to find food and a suitable place to live in the often very dangerous weather. Occasionally, Flaherty turns the camera away from Nanook and observes nature's raw beauty, but death's presence is always easily felt.
The most intriguing episodes are the ones where the camera comes very close to the Eskimos and carefully observes their interactions. In one such episode Nanook teaches his very curious son how to hold a tiny bow and use it. In another he cuts large blocks of snow with his knife and builds an igloo for his family. As he places a big piece of ice to be used as a window, it is easy to see how pleased he and his family are with his work. The most moving moments, however, are the ones where Nanook brings food to his family and they all gather to eat together. Their appreciation in these obviously special moments has to be seen to be believed. (Unfortunately, shortly after the film was completed, Nanook apparently died of starvation while hunting for his family).
Flaherty's presence is never felt. Even when he is amongst the Eskimos their daily rhythm is never interrupted. Most of the close-ups are surpassingly good – they are never too shaky or unfocused. Occasionally, Nanook will look straight into the camera but his reactions are always natural. This is one of the film's greatest strengths – showing Nanook and his family as they were, not treating them like exotic objects.
Also included on this double set is Knud Rasmussen and Friedrich Dalsheim's film The Wedding of Palo. Completed in 1934, this film chronicles the ongoing rivalry between two Eskimos from the Angmagssalik region of East Greenland, Palo and Samo, while they are trying to win the heart of a beautiful young woman.
Unlike Nanook of the North, The Wedding of Palo was shot with sound (and even with an operatic music score by a Danish composer). The film, which was apparently meant to be the first in a trilogy about life in Greenland, was also lensed by two different cinematographers, Hans Scheib and Walter Traut.
The Wedding of Palo is the more intimate and clearly the more relaxed of the two films. In it life is still difficult for the Eskimos, but nature never looks as dangerous as it does in Nanook of the North. More often than not the focus of attention is also on the Eskimos' feelings and emotions rather than on their daily struggle for survival.
Notes: In 1989, Nanook of the North was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry.
Nanook of the North / The Wedding of Palo Blu-ray, Video Quality
Presented in an aspect ratio of 1.37:1. encoded with MPEG-4 AVC and granted a 1080p transfer, Robert J. Flaherty's Nanook of the North arrives on Blu-ray courtesy of Flicker Alley.
Please note that the screencaptures used in this review appear in the following order:
1. Screencaptures 1-17 are from Nanook of the North.
2. Screencaptures 18-30 are from The Wedding of Palo.
Mastered in high-definition from a fine grain master of David Shepard's 1972 restoration, Nanook of the North looks pleasing on Blu-ray. Understandably, there are various inherited clarity and detail fluctuations, but different image optimizations have been performed by Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange of Lobster Films (one of the parties behind the fabulous restoration of Georges Melies' legendary A Trip to the Moon) and now the film can be experienced as best as possible. Despite some wear, many close-ups for instance boast very good depth for a film shot under some quite unusual circumstances (see screencapture #2). At times even very small objects can be clearly seen (see screencapture #11). Elsewhere, wider panoramic shots also boast surprisingly good clarity (see screencaptures #3 and 17). The most obvious image fluctuations are typically noticeable where light is either subdued or overexposed. In these shots shadow definition is affected. But there are specific shots where the effect is indeed inherited, as this is how the footage was filmed (see screencapture #14). It also needs to be said that portions of the film come from different sources, such as repair shots, which are taken from different nitrate prints. Naturally, occasionally there are frame transition issues as well. Ultimately, however, the restorers have managed to put together a very solid, very organic looking presentation of this legendary documentary film that should please its fans. (Nanook of the North runs at approximately 79 minutes, which is the original running time noted in the first reviews of the film).
Also included on this two-disc set is Knud Rasmussen and Friedrich Dalsheim's The Wedding of Palo (1934). The film was apparently mastered in high-definition from a nitrate print made in 1937 and now in the collection of George Eastman House. Slightly windowboxed, The Wedding of Palo shows a bit more wear around the edges and more prominent contrast fluctuations. Shadow definition, however, is marginally better. Again, there are portions of the film where detail and clarity fluctuate, but there are no traces of excessive digital manipulations. Debris, scratches, and damage marks were removed as best as possible by Bret Hampton.
(Note: This is a Region-Free Blu-ray release. Therefore, you will be able to play it on your PS3 or SA regardless of your geographical location).
Nanook of the North / The Wedding of Palo Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Nanook of the North and The Wedding of Palo arrives with Dolby Digital 2.0. tracks. Each film also contains original intertitles.
I can't say that I am disappointed by the fact that lossless tracks are not offered. Timothy Brock's score has pleasing depth and dynamic movement is as good as I expected it to be. On both tracks, however, there is light hiss. It is far from distracting, but its presence is certainly felt when one turns up the volume. A few minor pops can also be heard. On The Wedding of Palo the dialog is relatively stable. A few light distortions in the strings (typically the high frequencies) are present.
Nanook of the North / The Wedding of Palo Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Nanook of the North / The Wedding of Palo Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
This is yet another very impressive release from the folks at Flicker Alley. In addition to Robert J. Flaherty legendary Nanook of the North, which has been digitally restored by Serge Bromberg and Eric Lange of Lobster Films (one of the parties behind the fabulous restoration of Georges Melies' A Trip to the Moon), and Knud Rasmussen and Friedrich Dalsheim's equally fascinating The Wedding of Palo, the release also comes with six bonus films. All of these films offer a glimpse at a truly unique culture which has already been irreversibly altered by technology and globalization. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
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