Inuit Lands, The Melting Point
Directed by Patrick Morell
This documentary film by master class presenter Patrick Morell exemplifies the making of history and narrative associated with the documentary film genre. Attempting to portray the world as it really is, Morell’s cinema verité explores the resilience and vulnerability of the Inuit communities in northern Greenland as they face the challenges of social and climatic change. Interviews with Jean Malaurie, a French anthropologist and expert on the Inuits of Thule, and a number of hunters provide first-hand accounts of not only the hunting culture and rich heritage of these communities, but also the kinds of problems they face today.
Greenland‚ the name conjures images of majestic Arctic landscapes and Nordic legends shrouded in mystery. The Inuit of Thule, Greenland‚ the northernmost people in the world‚ are proud, heroic hunters whose material and spiritual lives are inextricably bound to nature. The French anthropologist Jean Malaurie discovered these communities in 1951‚ the year the U.S. government began building a military base in the middle of Thule Eskimo territory. Today, mining, oil exploration, and global warming threaten the traditions and the very existence of this ancient hunter society.
This documentary explores the resilience and the vulnerability of the Inughuit communities of North Greenland, who face new challenges posed by social and climatic changes.
Patrick was born in France, in the rugged Mountain region of Les Vosges near Alsace Lorraine, bordering Germany’s Black Forest. He learned his craft at the Louis Lumiere Film School in Paris, and earned degrees in philosophy and journalism at the University of Paris Sorbonne/Vincenne. In addition to his love of nature and related themes, Patrick was greatly influenced by the Cinema Verite style and Gilles Deleuze ‘s philosophy.
In the Western United States. he gained film experience, as a freelance cameraman (16m/m, 35m/m), in 1982 and 1983 filming features such as the dark thriller “the Masseuse” from Masai Films (Marin County), in the streets of San Francisco. In 1984, working with and for the San Francisco Film Company, he scouted for “the Golden Spike” a Sam Peckinpah project. He shot commercials for Grant Production, an advertising company in Sacramento. In Los Angeles, he provided advisory services in Documentary film classes at UCLA in 1988 and worked as an actor, from 1985 to 1991, with minor roles in So I Married an Ax Murderer and The Last of the Mohicans.
In the 90’s in New York, Patrick filmed numerous art videos as well as educational and institutional programs for several video production companies such as Visual Arts Productions International, A.C.T (Art, Cultures & Technologies), Video 35, Maysles Films and Knight Productions in Washington DC. “Souls Grown Deep” shot in Alabama and Georgia about three self -taught black artists was made with Arts, Cultures & Technologies in 1996.
His work either as a shooter and/or as a director has been featured in a wide array of International documentaries for European television (Arte France, TV 5 France, Studio 21 Sarajevo) and for US broadcasting (PBS, National Geographic, Discovery Channel, and HBO).
In the last few years, he has continued to travel extensively in Greenland and South East Asia and most recently in India and Cuba where he has 2 projects currently in development. In his journeys and as a filmmaker, Patrick scouts locations, shoots material, and investigates stories (see films and in production pages for details).
He remains true to his homegrown roots in hand held camera, Cinema Verite style, while experiencing many other styles of cameras and sound. Like Francis F. Coppolla wrote: “There is magic in cinema” and I would add it is a blessing when you can witness it, first hand behind the lens. Only documentaries allow you this direct, close up, and not programmed approach to reality.
He is currently based in New York City and in Princeton, New Jersey.