A Boatload of Wild Irishmen

“I have been accused of trying to drown a boatload of wild Irishmen off Aran.” — Robert Flaherty

Year: 2011
Country: Ireland, UK
Running time: 84 mins

Producer: Mac Dara Ó Curraidhín
Photography: Alan Wilson, Andy Lee, Chuck Fishbein, Ronán Fox, Warwick Wrigley
Editors: Chris Hainstock, Mikey Flaherty
Music: Steve McGrath

DigiBeta/Colour and B&W

Robert Flaherty has long been known as the Father of the Documentary, and he has just as long been a controversial figure, embodying a number of the form’s contradictions. The minute he chose to stage scenes in order to make a better film out of his Inuit project Nanook of the North, he was opening documentary’s Pandora’s Box. His later work in Samoa, the Aran Islands and Louisiana further explored such enduring topics of documentary ethics as ethnographic falsification, exploitation of one’s subjects and the perils of corporate sponsorship. This entertaining portrait of Flaherty shrewdly looks beyond standard polemical positions to present a complex view of the man and his work (shown in vivid excerpts). It addresses the controversies head on, augmenting testimony from Flaherty and his key collaborators with telling interviews with the people whose parents and grandparents he put onto the cinema screens of the world: Inuit, Samoans and, of obvious personal interest to the Irish filmmakers, the ‘wild men’ of Aran. — AL

View the trailer on Flicks.co.nz