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Films on IceCinemas of the Arctic$
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Scott MacKenzie and Anna Westerstahl Stenport

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780748694174

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2017

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748694174.001.0001

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From Objects to Actors: Knud Rasmussen’s Ethnographic Feature Film The Wedding of Palo

From Objects to Actors: Knud Rasmussen’s Ethnographic Feature Film The Wedding of Palo

Chapter:
(p.215) 15. From Objects to Actors: Knud Rasmussen’s Ethnographic Feature Film The Wedding of Palo
Source:
Films on Ice
Author(s):

Ebbe Volquardsen

Publisher:
Edinburgh University Press
DOI:10.3366/edinburgh/9780748694174.003.0016

This chapter examines one of Denmark’s best-known ethnographic fiction feature films, Knud Rasmussen’s The Wedding of Palo (1934), directed by Friedrich Dalsheim, and shot in Western Greenland. While in many ways a documentary in the salvage ethnography tradition of the first part of the twentieth century, and sharing many similarities with Robert Flaherty’s Nanook of the North (1922), Volquardsen examines the significance of this film for the contested geopolitical status of Greenland in the early 1930s. Foregrounding the venerable status of Knud Rasmussen as an explorer and ethnographer in Danish history, this chapter shows how the film continues to be both cherished and mocked as a thwarted historical document for the Greenlandic population. The legacy of this film, showcasing seal-hunts, kayaking tricks, and domestic and cultural traditions (including drum-dancing), has remained significant and occupies a complex position in Denmark-Greenland cultural relations.

Keywords:   Greenland, Knud Rasmussen, 7th Thule Expedition, The Wedding of Palo, Friedrich Dalsheim, Robert Flaherty, Nanook of the North, Pia Arke

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