In this blend of documentary and fictional narrative from pioneering filmmaker Robert Flaherty, the everyday trials of life on Ireland’s unforgiving Aran Islands are captured with attention to naturalistic beauty and historical detail.
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The first time the basking shark is seen, so very mystifying it just appears through the surface of the water, and the sudden ceasing of the music really sets in the feeling of shock the boy must have at his discovery.
Robert "Nanook of the North" Flaherty drops the pure documentary pretense and mixes spontaneous nature with elements that are openly staged. But what does it say about cinema that while it's slightly less morally questionable than Nanook, it's also far less enchanting? It's a film made up of essentially 3 set-pieces, stretched to 75 minutes. But it's worth it for the photography and basking shark alone.
A risky documentary with narrative storytelling. It is great to see a film this old that is able blend the two aesthetics. It keeps you wondering what is real and what is staged. In fact, a lot was staged but it feels real. Plus, the landscape where the characters lives is both impressively beautiful but terrifyingly dangerous at the same time. It is like "Nanook of the North" but now, it is set in the Aran Islands.