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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...


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