AT THE WINTER SEA ICE CAMP

part 1

Quentin Brown
Canada 1963-1964 | 36 Min. | BetaSP, OmeU
Q&A with: Asen Balikci

In late winter when the cold is severe, the people and dogs are glad to stop their trek and make camp. In the blue dusk the men probe the snow and then cut build­ing blocks while the women shovel a site. Soon all are under cover, and in the waver­ing light of the stone lamp they sleep, their breath rising coldly. In the light of day the men test and refur­bish their spears, har­ness dogs to the sled and strike out on the sea ice. Each man, with a dog or two, explores the white waste, seek­ing scent of a seal’s breath­ing hole. When a dog noses the snow, the man probes for the hole and, when he finds it, sus­pends a single looped hair to signal when the seal rises to breathe. Then he waits, motion­less, to make his strike. He kills, and the others gather to taste the warm liver of his catch. Then, as night comes, the vigil goes on.