Starring: The villagers of Niaqornat
You may like this if you like: The Peddler (Eduardo de la Serna et al, 2010), Beasts of the Southern Wild (Benh Zeitlin, 2012), Trashed (Candida Brady, 2012)
Shot over the course of a year, Village at the End of the World films the daily struggles of the residents of Niaqornat, a small village in Northern Greenland with a population of 59. They struggle to maintain their traditional way of life due to both the changing ecological and economic climates of the world.
Documentaries have many uses; and one can be that it gives you a firsthand demonstration of a completely different way of life that you may well otherwise have never known anything about. Village at the End of the World is precisely this; it is made with obvious passion and is a very watchable and enjoyable snapshot of a way of life that is severely under threat. Though there is also genuine heart to be found as the villages residents are an eccentric and extremely likeable bunch.
The pace is as gentle as life in the village, but at just over 80 minutes this charming documentary never outstays its welcome or feels like you are just watching filler. Due to the changing global climate and economic challenges, Niaqornat’s fishing industry is under threat and more and more residents are moving to the bigger towns just so they can earn a decent living. One of the main stories of the film is the villagers’ fight to get the funding to re open their factory enabling fish production. The fact this is real footage involving real people makes the whole experience more involving.
What gives this film such genuine heart is the villagers that feature. Due to their differing personalities many of these characters are just like us, such as teenager Lars whose father cannot acknowledge him as his son despite practically living in the house opposite. Lars is just a typical teenager; liking all the usual things and wanting to see more of the world. Through the honest interviews shown throughout the film it is so easy to become emotionally involved in the developments of the lives of all these extremely likeable villagers. This means that as the narrative develops there are some genuinely emotional moments, particularly involving Lars as well as a very poignant post credit scene.
Village at the End of the World may not change your life, but is a well made, charming and genuinely involving documentary that is most definitely worth a watch.