Greatest Film Scenes
and Moments

Man of Aran (1934)


Written by Tim Dirks

Title Screen
Movie Title/Year and Scene Descriptions

Man of Aran (1934, UK)

In pioneering director Robert Flaherty's semi-staged (or fabricated) documentary ("docu-fiction") about the harsh life of survival on Ireland's desolate, weather-beaten, rugged and barren Aran Islands about 30 miles off Ireland's western coast:

  • the close-knit family - viewed dialogue-less (with over-dubs only) - archetypal characters: fisherman/patriarch - the 'Man of Aran' (Colman "Tiger" King), his Wife (Maggie Dirrane), and young Son (Michael Dillane)
  • the churning of the thunderous waves that threatened to drown the villagers
  • the portrayal of the gritty and inventive struggle to grow food without soil, by laying seaweed down on the bare rock to produce a potato crop (Title-card: "Seaweed - the foundation of their farm")
  • the scene of the boy fishing with a line from towering cliff faces, when he spotted something, climbed down the rocks, and stood face to face with the gaping mouth of a great white shark swimming by in the water (the musical score on the soundtrack suddenly stopped to emphasis his find)
  • the film's centerpiece - the elaborate montage sequence of the prolonged, two-day boat hunt for a basking shark by harpooning (to provide lamp oil) - a practice that had actually ended many decades earlier
Montage of Shark Hunt
  • in the conclusion, the incredible storm scenes and turbulent churning waters, with giant waves threatening to engulf the fishing boat

Threatened Villagers

Growing Food (Potatoes) Using Seaweed

Fishing on Cliff's Edge

Sighting of Shark


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