In 1920, explorer and American anthropologist Robert J Flaherty travelled alone, with camera in hand, to the remote Canadian tundra. There, for over a year, he lived with Eskimos, documenting their daily lives and returning to his editing studio with the raw footage. The result of his rigorous study was groundbreaking; with Nanook of the North, Flaherty pioneered both a new cinematic genre, the narrative documentary, and created a timeless drama of human perseverance under the harshest of conditions. Flaherty obviously understood the charisma of one Eskimo in particular, Nanook, and much of the film's warmth, humour, and charm come from the mutual respect and sympathy between the filmmaker and his subject. Flaherty possessed an acute eye for simple detail and his presentation of the stark climate and unique culture remains breathtaking. Flaherty also had a knack for editing and manipulation, and along with pioneering a new cinematic form, Nanook too raised all of the problematic ethical dilemmas that still face documentary makers. Many of the famous sequences--the seal hunt, the building of the igloo--were actually staged for "authenticity" purposes, thus starting debates on whether documentaries could truly capture truth or reality. Then there's the presence of the camera and whether that in itself alters or disrupts the natural behaviour of its subjects. Yet, despite Flaherty's tamperings, there's no denying the film's power, its wondrous sense of adventure, and the touching portrait of one of cinema's truly courageous heroes.