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Wednesday

The ethnographic dramas of Hollywood’s silent era are so rarely seen these days that even dedicated filmgoers probably think that Nanook of the North was a fluke. Of course, many of these films were pure fantasy, scripted by and for middle Americans. H.P. Carver’s The Silent Enemy, however, is more authentic than most. Shot in winter near Hudson Bay, the 1930 film, made entirely with members of the Ojibway tribe, features genuine (and not for the squeamish) footage of the Indians battling the silent enemy—hunger—by hunting bear and caribou. The director purported to depict Indian life before the arrival of European settlers, but the scenario is actually based on a 72-volume history of New France written by Jesuit missionaries between 1610 and 1791. Still, that’s a lot closer to reality than most Hollywood portrayals of aboriginal populations, either in the ’30s or today. One of the last American silent films produced, The Silent Enemy includes a few sequences with sound. At noon and 7 p.m. at the National Archives Theater, 700 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Free. (202) 501-5000. (Mark Jenkins)