Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 16, 2015

This seems a modest, workmanlike production. But beneath that dutiful spirit it evokes the whole history of the Griersonian documentary, as well as entirely fulfilling its purpose and potential. Here is intense detailing, an artistic portrayal of an essential, often overlooked or undervalued public service. In this it resembles Grierson’s own Drifters. The part in which the new guy learns his duties is like a drolly slowed down, snowy equivalent to a similarly good-humoured sequence in Night Mail. The sequence in which the baby’s birth is communicated through the town of Glacier’s party line is as shimmering and lovely as the “absent friends” section in Jennings’ A Diary for Timothy. (As shimmering and lovely a thing as the film medium is capable of creating!) In its recording of graceful professionalism and humanity in the throes of an impossible climate, this is like Nanook of the North. Similarly, on the subject of subsistence, or sufficiency, or even thriving amidst would be impossibility, it’s like City of Gold.

All of these echoes are here, and some of them may even have been due to an awareness of precedent and heritage. Or, alternatively, this could be heterogenesis. The truth will out, wherever the camera and the community and the Holy Spirit reside.