This month our Nordic Season continues with a look at community spirit in remote Greenland. Village at the End of the World (2012) is a fascinating documentary about the inhabitants of Niaqornat, located on the northern coast of the Nuussuaq Peninsula. In 2010 the hamlet had a population of only 58.
Like all villages, Niaqornat has its supporters and detractors amongst the local populace. For some it is paradise, they can’t imagine living anywhere else, for others it’s the last place on earth they want to be. For most Niaqornat is simply home. We know that there are very real pressures on a place like this – the ice is melting, the government no longer wants to subsidise the supply ship that brings the food that can’t be hunted locally, and people are leaving due to the lack of work. Ultimately Village At The End Of The World is a film that reflects the dilemmas of most small communities all over the world, this one just happens to be in one of the remotest spots on earth.
While highlighting the attitudes of many of the village’s varied characters, Sarah Gavron’s and David Katznelson’s documentary is anchored by Lars, a restless teen, who over the course of the film becomes disenchanted with the quaint existence Niaqornat offers and hungry for the opportunities that a town or city would provide. In Lars we see the changes and differences between generations; in a community that relies and survives on hunting, he has no desire to kill. And while those around him maintain a hands-on mentality, he has embraced technology and modern living, leading him to feel isolated in contrast to the isolation the village endures from the wider world.
Niaqornat is a place of extremes – we move from midnight sun to midday darkness, the young craft shaman symbols and also surf the internet, but at it’s heart Village at the End of the World is a story of traditional communities world over.
Village at the End of the World screens Thursday 19 February at The Palace Picturehouse in Armley Mills Industrial Museum, along with a selection of short films. Tickets are only £5 – including free refreshments courtesy of the award-winning Noisette Bakehouse – and are available from our online ticket office.