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MAN OF ARAN

UK, 1934 (MIFF 1954, Programme 4)

Director: Robert J. Flaherty

"Man of Aran" comes closer than "Nan-ook of the North" or "Moana" to the life we know or our forebears knew, to our racial past. . . . The nameless man of Aran is separated from us only by the genera-lions that brought towns and machines and easy living to our own kind. He even speaks a language that is not foreign to us &ndash: he is ourselves when we had to feed ourselves, by our own hands, from the earth and the sea.

Flaherty tells no complicated story of this man, he simply &ndash: but with great eloquence &ndash: lets his camera show the daily routine events of the man's life on one of the sea &ndash: stormed Isles of Aran; and those events are a profound and stirring drama. . . . The epitome of this struggle is caught and fixed again and again and again in the pictures of the woman and boy against bleak land, vast threatening rocks or cloud-tossed sky, or of the man's boat continually lost to sight among heaving mountains of waves. . . .

It comes, probably, as near as one need wish for to pure cinema, a complete expression of its intention through the camera. Though sounds add immeasurably to its effectiveness-the sound of musical instruments weaving old Irish tunes into eloquent sub-commentary, and the different music of Irish voices, of gulls crying, of wind and roaring ocean - they really tell nothing that the camera does not show ...

- James Shirley Hamilton (National Board of Review Magazine)

See also...

LOUISIANA STORY

USA, 1948
This was Robert Faherty's last major film before his death on July 23, 1951, at the age of 67. It wa a worthy successor to his other great films Nanook of the North, Moana, and Man of Aran. ... Flahe… More »

MOANA

USA/Samoa
Moana begins quietly, showing the life of the natives in their (to us) exotic environment. By implication the common humanity of ourselves and these remote people is established. In this section the … More »

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