Man of Aran
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Top Customer Reviews
Now about the film itself: shot for two and a half years on the irish coast, Man of Aran follows the lives of a group of irish fishermen: their constant struggle for life in a sea full of dangers. The cinematography is simply breathtaking. I simply cannot remember another film that has ever captured the sea with such a poetic feeling of greatness and power. Like most of Flaherty's films, this is a labour of love and devotion.
It is incredible that a film like this was made nearly 70 years ago!! It has a technical brillance and a dazzling style that puts it over any other film made at sea. This film shows like no other the unbelievable battle men undertake against the sea. Death, life, storms, winds... and above all, love for the sea.
This film is a true documentary experience like no other (talk about the power of the images...).
This DVD edition has a fantastic pack of extras. Two documentaries (one about the film, other about Flaherty himself). Photos and lots of great information about this landmark film. The image is very good (considering the age of the film) and the sound is very good. I replaced my VHS copy (it had a poor picture - full of damages). This is a great DVD edition. If you already know the film, this is a great DVD to have and treasure. If you don't know the film yet, give it a try for it is a true gem.
Robert Flaherty, director of acclaimed documentary "Nanook of the North," brings his same authentic eye to this struggle of man against nature, and how people can claw out an existence in even the harshest of climates. His camera makes you believe his story, as does the unaffected dialog and ability of his subjects.
Unfortunately for Flaherty, the daily life struggle of the Aran inhabitants was not raw enough, so he brought their lives about 90 years into the past, into the realm of harpoon shark fishing and suicidal egg hunting near towering cliffs. In order to resurrect this past, he located islanders who remembered the old ways, and knew the skills necessary to achieve his vision. In this way, Flaherty is authentic, using the elder residents to bring their childhood to life again. But it was not modern Aran.
This DVD is fantastic, bringing not only the original docu-drama, as well as several supporting documentaries regarding the making of "Man of Aran," about Flaherty himself, and several interesting dialogs about the film. One could not wish for a more complete package.
It's worth noting that film was still just emerging from the silent era then, and Robert Flaherty apparently filmed a silent film and then masterfully added sound -- there's very little dialogue (other than incidental). The repeated footage of the sea breaking on that cliff-lined coast conveys all of the power and danger of that surf. (The print seems of good quality.) The documentaries on the DVD show just how primitive the cameras and other equipment were -- indeed, the four documentary featurettes tell much about the difficulties and limitations of film production of the day.
The documentaries also put the film in perspective, returning to a much-tamed Aran of a later day. The interviews with former cast members and other islanders can be touching and genuine.
Possibly Robert Flaherty's best film, and the DVD is a worthy vehicle for it.
Yes--it's because of technique; and yes--it's because of the artistry, because of the the craggy feel of the Aran Isles and the hard-scrabble looks of the locals pressed into service as actors by the brilliant documentarist, Robert Flaherty.
But there are deeper reasons, too. We have an inner need to glorify and dramatize the hardships of our ancestors and of those who have come before us. This mythmaking process--for myth it is--is an essential way in which we define ourselves and place ourselves in human history.
And the Aran Isles occupied a central place in the mythmaking that allowed the Irish Republic to define innate strengths and assert its identity, independence and nationhood.
As William Butler Yeats stated: "We desire to preserve into the modern life that ideal of a nation of men who will . . . remember always the four ancient virtues as a German philospher (Nietzche) has enumerated them: first, honesty among one's friends; second, courage among ones enemies; third, generosity among the weak; fourth, courtesy at all times whatsoever . . ."
Yeats and Lady Gregory, concerned to engender a foundational mythic drama and poetry for modern Ireland, sent John Millington Synge to the Aran Isles to live among peasants and capture the cadences of their speech and learn their outlook on the world. That advice became a turning point for Synge, both of his life and career. Out of it came the book of his experiences there ...Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
We've just returned from Ireland and a day trip to Aran Islands, three rocky, windswept, beautiful islands a ferry ride from Galway Bay. Read morePublished 12 days ago by J. Ryan
Wish more movies of honest earthy survival. Viewer is engrossed to the last minute w/o special effects.Published 15 months ago by M J Gardena
Classic 1930's documentary by director Robert Flaherty of rugged Irish fisherman trying to wrest an existence from the barren confines of the namesake island. Read morePublished 17 months ago by James Clifton
Having been to the Aran islands earlier this spring, this movie was a must-see for me. Let me prepare you for it. It's old. It's black and white. There is almost no talking. Read morePublished on July 19, 2014 by Randee Baty
The film itself is not Blueray quality but the story is certainly better than anything you will find on TV. Read morePublished on July 8, 2014 by Jenni
This is an early documentary about life on the little island of Aran, west of Scotland. The island is little more than a vast rock. Read morePublished on April 26, 2014 by HDB III