This documentary is literally 4X3 aspect ratio and mostly B&W. Which means some will think it is hopelessly old fashioned. But for anybody with an ounce of nostalgia for the past and for the movies, this is a treasure trove of delights. The film tells the story of the town of Dawson City, from the Yukon gold rush days of 1897 to the 1970s, when a cache of old nitrate films from the silent era was discovered somewhat unscathed while bulldozing the site of an old swimming pool that had been filled with crates of film and then covered over. The films were painstakingly restored; and along with another trove of old glass plate photographs from the era, they provide most of the visuals of this film. A symphonic music track, and some rudimentary sound effects were added, along with explanatory subtitles, rather than narration. The material was then edited roughly chronologically, with clever juxtaposition of footage from the found silent narrative films and newsreels (thought to be lost forever), as counterpoint to the narrative of the town's history. Some of the footage is partially whited out by the destruction of the elements. But even with that, what remains is sharp and surprisingly well shot, directed and acted. It comprises a living history of bygone eras that had me in tears at times, so astounding were the images and the story behind their restoration.
Personal note: my own family settled in the Iron Range of northern Minnesota at the turn of the 20th Century (a mining area similar, if less spectacular, than that of Dawson, Yukon Territory.) Members of my family owned the local Nickelodeon movie theater...at least until the entire clan moved to Los Angeles in 1926 and then mostly got involved in the Hollywood movie industry (culminating with myself). So, perhaps I had a more personal involvement than most with the history of movies. That might explain to some extent why I became so fascinated and moved watching this film.