"Man of Aran" may strictly be no documentary, but it is very real. The hard life of the people of the Isle of Aran is portrayed in its full harshness and splendor. Of a sort.
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.