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Winter Fishing in Rymättylä

Film Review by Dean Duncan Jun 16, 2015

What a setting, and what a feat! These men and women, and even a few of their kids, harvest fish, twice a day, with nets, from under the ice. In Finland! The discourses of heroism privilege outlandish challenges and singular accomplishments, but Robert Flaherty, not to mention the whole history of human subsistence and sufficiency, remind us that the matter-of-fact surmounting of everyday difficulties is the best kind of heroism. Bicycle Repair Man! This record is more efficient than it is beautiful or poetic. Then again, it may be that beauty and poetry are sometimes more outlandish and singular than they are useful. The various stages of this plain process are clearly assembled for us. Speaking of poetry this film, unlike most of Flaherty, gives us some of the setting, or context. Pan over, as it were, and there are other fishing gangs, and the need to negotiate access and territories and such. There are billions of these documents, and most of them are at least a little bit perfunctory. As such, they make the viewer work just a little bit harder. Given their subject, and its proper ubiquity in human life, that seems appropriate, and not at all too much to ask.