Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Village at the End of the World

This film festival has been excellent for seeing exotic places - Saudi Arabia, The West Bank, Antarctica, Kurdistan, Japan - and The Village at the End of the World took me to Greenland. Like Antarctica: A year on Ice, this documentary also spanned a year. - in this case of the lives of the residents of Niaqornat, a  tiny village on the western coast of Greenland.

We gets to grips with living in an isolated community - the only way in or out for most people is by helicopter and goods come by boat , but only from May to December. Towards the end of winter, hunting is a viable way of feeding the village. There aren't many jobs - since the Royal Greenland Company closed the fish factory  in 2008 people fish or hunt, there's one school teacher, one village administrator, one person runs the shop (the only teenager helps out) and one excrement collector - you could call him a nightsoil collector, except that he works during the daytime. The economics of the community and their quest to resurrect the fish factory is a big part of the film.

The landscape and the scenery are another big part. In the winter, the sea freezes but even in the summer there are icebergs floating in the bay - so the view is always changing. The lack of things growing really struck me - there are no trees and no-one in Niaqornat has a garden. We see a bit of moss and grass on the hills. Vegetables are things that are brought in by boat, and one of the older residents said he didn't really like them since they weren't a part of the traditional Greenlandic diet!
 I'm sure there's many plenty of fodder there for more documentaries - one on sewage and waste disposal in Arctic environments, for example. And whether the many dogs were using for sledding or as pets.However, you can start with the one on offer, Getting to know Niaqornat and its people makes for a very pleasant eighty minutes and expands your world view.

Anne's rating 3/5.

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