The Netsilik Eskimo Series of documentaries (1967), directed by Quentin Brown,
are, in my opinion, the best documentary films ever created.
There is no polical message here, no clever marketing scheme, no depressing account of the world's ecological demise- just an endearing family of Netsilik Eskimos going through their daily routines.
I originally saw some of this series when I was at 18 in an anthropology course.
It was a life-changing experience for me.
These beautifully-simple films bring a completely foreign, but totally real, culture to life.
The films documented the daily survival of the family in the Far-North, over the course of a year. They take us, as the viewers, through the annual migration of the Netsilik people. A people who, up until the mid 1900's, lived like this with hardly any knowledge of the rest of modern people. With only a few metal tools, this family survives the year living in the traditional manner, traveling to the food sources available depending upon the time of year.
I would say these have been some of the most enlightening films I have ever viewed. Life may have a lot of difficulties in our current human condition of imperfection, however, very little with regard to possessions is required to live. These films help to remind me that, with a simple lifestyle and a supportive family, everything will be fine. The Netsilik family work hard at the tasks at hand and make it through each day- one day at a time. They seem to enjoy the daily activities and the company of each other.
These are not action films... They are slow-paced; it's like spending the day, the year, with a family from the far north as an invisible viewer.
One thing that really appeals to me is that no soundtrack was added to distract from the natural sounds of their environment and activity.
It is a documentary series of films in the purest and most beautiful form; a piece of media masterpiece that helps me to stay human.
I hope you enjoy them as much as I have!
There are many more of these short films in the Netsilik Eskimo Series. Unfortunately the price to own them on DVD is ridiculous ($650+) or else I would definitely own a copy. Nevertheless, I'm happy to be able to put this short playlist in order thanks to the website www.nfb.ca which had made all of these available to embed here on my blog. You can visit the NFB website to view other cultural anthropology films.
I have attempted to facilitate viewing the series by arranging the links into chronological order so that you can enjoy learning about this culture without too much distraction.
If you know of a method to include more of these Netsilik Eskimo videos on this page, please leave a comment and let me know. Thanks. Enjoy!
"AT THE SPRING SEA ICE CAMP- part 1"
"AT THE SEA ICE CAMP- part 2"
"AT THE SEA ICE CAMP- part 3"
"STALKING SEAL ON THE SPRING ICE- part 1"
"STALKING SEAL ON THE SPRING ICE- part 2"
"FISHING AT THE STONE WEIR- part 1"