Saturday morning at the True/False Film Fest held a double bill of Chilean films for me -and that was fantastic! My double bill of Greenland films were separated by a few more hours. My opening ‘Expedition’ that took me on a wooden ship to the frozen fjords of Greenland struck me Thursday night with crashing icebergs and thoughtful reflections by outsiders; the second Greenland film turned its attention to a tiny Inuit village, population 59, where hope continually sprang anew as the seasons passed.
This film, ‘The Village at the End of the World‘, carried a different tune than did ‘Expedition to the End of the World’. The first had an unknown, perhaps unwanted future ahead as the scientists and artists guessed at the transitions by melting polar ice caps and climate change as well as man’s adaptation to it all. Albeit through-provoking with much humor weaved within, there was a lot of looking backwards in the ‘Expedition’.
Not so, in ‘The Village’ as we come into the lives of this tiny fishing village, complete with powerful vistas and little, colorful wooden houses dotting the islet. An abandoned fish factory sits with no one to work it. A faithful and regular ‘village clock’-man regularly collects the people’s sewage and wheelbarrows it to a dump site. A young teenager sits idle in the village shop, dreaming of the big city. Village chief and head hunter faithfully sets out for fish, whale, and bear to feed his village.
This is no village stuck in the past, as one cruise ship adventurer suggests. No, they are moving forward. With several families moving away, the remaining talk of abandoning this ancestral home, but it is absolutely unthinkable. They fight.
How can they save their village, which is a 5 day walk to the closest town, has no medical service, relies on Danish subsidies, and a powerful shipping company for regular supplies? They fight.
This story touches the heart. And in many ways it transcends Inuit culture or Greenland or language barrier. These people reflect the fight that many small villages or towns across the world, especially in the U.S., are engaged in to keep their heritage alive and their livelihoods sustaining. When you watch this if you are from a small town, who will see their struggle for survival come through. Theirs is a hopeful one.
Where do you live? Did you escape the small town knowing that there is little there for you or that it is dying and strike out for greener (or less frozen) lands? Small town revival is real and active across the U.S. and globe, as the Internet and other technology continues to make the world smaller and more accessible for even the most raw of entrepreneurs. Just as ‘The Village’ is doing it, so can you small town.
Sure, the Inuit culture is used to harsh conditions, but it is the soul that drives one to innovation and survival, not seal fur coats or dried fish.