“Passage”: A Film by John Walker Looks at the Story of John Rae and Inuit Oral Histories of the Lost Franklin Expedition
by admin ~ May 7th, 2008
Following the tale of hubris and national ambition, John Walker looks at the tragic fate of the 1845 Franklin expedition and the controversy surrounding the harrowing tale of desperation and futility as told by Inuit oral histories. The story is told with the assistance of Nunavut MLA and historian Tagak Curley, and draws on the historical biography of John Rae by Ken McGoogan, titled “Fatal Passage” (2001).
It was news that shook the English-speaking world. Celebrated British explorer Sir John Franklin and his crew of 128 men had perished in the Arctic ice during an ill-fated attempt to discover the Northwest Passage. More shocking, they had descended into madness and cannibalism.
The report came in 1851, from John Rae, a Scottish doctor working for the Hudson’s Bay Company. Traveling thousands of miles on foot and in small craft, Rae had done what six years of searching by the British, Americans, French and Russians had failed to do â€” discover the fate of Franklin and unlock the final link in the Passage â€” a 300-year-old dream.
For more information, a CBC story provides audio and video links to interviews with John Walker and Ken McGoogan. The Canadian Encyclopedia includes a list of previous films and awards by John Walker. For a list of future screenings, please visit the official NFB/ONF site for the film.
- CBC: “Franklin film pits Inuit oral tradition against British history” (Sept. 11, 2008).