Directed by: ROBERT FLAHERTY
1934, TSPDT Rank #345
I watched this one impulsively, not really knowing what to expect (I'd seen most of Nanook of the North before, but not enough to include it in my running count). It contains a lot of very beautiful and alluring images - infused with an inventive sense of editing and often brilliant camerawork. Unfortunately the other aspects of the film are quite thin. We are often shown the same shots or images over and over, or at least similar ones, so at times the film can feel quite repetitive. And it's very unclear as to what Flaherty was attempting to accomplish with the film. It's clearly not a documentary, as much of it is fictionalized. Apparently it is supposed to have a sense of realism, but the titular Man was not even from Aran, and had to be trained in a number of tasks for the film - including the hunting of the basking shark. That task itself had not been performed by the inhabitants of the island for generations when the film was made. So maybe it is supposed to represent the spirit of the inhabitants in general - old and new. Or a sort of tribute to them if you will. In any case, although the visuals are amazing, I don't think there's really a whole lot else here of great worth. It's definitely better than watching Avatar, that's for sure.