This feature documentary, by director Sarah Gavron, follows the trial and tribulations of the Inuit community that calls the village of Niaqornat their home.
A picturesque commune of 59 residents, struggling to survive on many levels, the story of Niaqornat is one of hope and eventually triumph through persistence.
Village at the End of the World is a journey through four seasons wherein the viewer is given a peek into the lives of the people that are surrounded by astounding beauty and yet are engulfed by everyday problems of survival.
The beauty of Greenland’s North Western region is striking from the very first frame. The entire documentary is no less than a perfect picture postcard and sometimes the impact of this raw beauty is so powerful that it’s hard to concentrate on the human aspect of the documentary.
Eventually, it is the desolation of the locals, which hides behind the alluring scenic beauty, that captures the attention of the audience; The monotonous lifestyle has made the young of the village frustrated and wanting to break out, the closing down of the local factory has left many without an income, and the danger of losing their subsidiaries with the falling population is a threat too close to the heart of the elderly who have lived their entire lives in the village. It is through these very challenges that the documentary encapsulates the varied perspectives of the residents.
But, this is a story about hope.
It is a reminder that nothing is achieved unless we are ready to fight for our dreams. Most importantly, it is a lesson in the long forgotten human nature of sharing.
In-between the everyday problems faced by the village, we see a sense of kinship develop. We see people come together to save their ancestral land by restarting the factory as a co-operative and also by enhancing tourism in the region. A strong sense of community is evident as the village shares the “catch” by the hunters and comes together to rejoice all achievements no matter how small or how mundane.
It is also a stark reminder for travellers who explore places around the world how important it is to contribute to and support the local communities. Many a time these small villages come out to show a brave face with smiles, but we as tourists are often unaware of their plight for survival.
Village at the End of the World is a tale of such survival. There is no doubt that the regional beauty is enticing and unparalleled, but the real splendour lies in watching the village and its inhabitants rise up from the ashes like a phoenix and reclaim their heritage and culture and fight to maintain their lifestyle the way it has been done for many-a-year.