It got pretty hot in the Northeast this week. Actually, that's an understatement. I've never seen so many people covered in so much sweat. Everyone looked like Robert Hays in that scene from Airplane! where his face is pouring out water. And we weren't even trying to land an airliner. Fortunately, there are ways of tricking the brain into thinking it's cooler. Some people do it by watching dramas like Never Cry Wolf or Vertical Limit or The Day After Tomorrow. I'm a documentary kind of guy, so I've been revisiting some favorite non-fiction films set in frozen settings. The heat wave may be past its worst highs, but keep these five docs in mind for the next time there are such sweltering conditions as we experienced in the past couple days.

Nanook of the North (Robert J. Flaherty, 1922)

Learn how to build an igloo and hunt seal in this mostly staged ethnographic study of an Inuk family. So what if that family isn't really a family and nearly all scenes are re-enactments, some not even of contemporary practices? It was at least legitimately shot in the cold north of Canada (not technically the Arctic, however), and despite the fact everyone's pretty naked when they go to sleep it does appear to be a frightfully freezing place. Alternate: if you prefer something more truthful, you could also check out South (1919), which documents first-hand the Antarctic explorations of Sir Ernest Shackleton.
categories Cinematical