DER Documentary

Blunden Harbour

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by Robert Gardner with William Heick
Black and White, 22 min, 1951

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“In the middle of the twentieth century, Blunden Harbour was a small village on the coast of Vancouver Island in British Colombia inhabited by a handful of impoverished Kwakiutl Indians who gained their meagre livelihood from fishing and gathering...It is a beginner's attempt to impart the rhythm and atmostphere of a place and a people.” - Robert Gardner

Robert Gardner, then a graduate student of Anthropology at the University of Washington in Seattle, went to Blunden Harbour to research a major film project on the Kwakiutl about whom Ruth Benedict had written so eloquently. The larger work was never done and this small film remains one of the few authentic accounts of this once majestic people. Gently paced to capture the essence of life in this forgotten community, the film relies on an observational style and compelling visuals to tell the story.

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