Greenland (or Kalaallit Nunaat as it’s officially known) is the world’s largest island. The bulk of the land is uninhabitable, sparsely populated and with most of the 50,000 population clinging to the south western reaches of the country. It was part of the Kingdom of Denmark for almost three hundred years before being granted home rule in 1979. However, economic independence has proved to be elusive, still largely reliant on their colonial masters.
This what all set to change when U.S. aluminium giant, Alcoa Corporation, announced plans to open a multi-billion dollar smelting plant in Maniitsoq. Making it the largest industrial operation in the nation’s history. Hopes were high but progress was slow, subsequently stalling. Filmed over a period of seven years, Winter’s Yearning follows three townsfolk (a bureaucrat, a factory worker and a therapist) as the project has a series of setbacks.
Winter’s Yearning tackles a problem faced by many indigenous communities across the world. The death of traditional industries, combined with climate change and a globalisation, are leaving people with limited choices. The young leave their birthplaces to find work in metropolitan centres. Sidse Torstholm Larsen and Sturla Pilskog’s impressive documentary charts years of a society in stasis. Waiting for a rich benefactor who may never come.
Winter’s Yearning debuts on POV in the US on 25 July.