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Featuring stunning footage from seven winters in the Arctic, People of a Feather takes you through time into the world of the Inuit on the Belcher Islands in Canada's Hudson Bay. Connecting past, present and future is a unique relationship with the eider duck. Eider down, the warmest feather in the world, allows both Inuit and bird to survive harsh Arctic winters. Traditional life is juxtaposed with modern challenges as both Inuit and eiders confront changing sea ice and ocean currents disrupted by the massive hydroelectric dams powering New York and eastern North America. Inspired by Inuit ingenuity and the technology of a simple feather, the film is a call to action to implement energy solutions that work with nature. Written by
First Run Features
It's not too often that a documentary can artfully bridge the gap between straight up scientific facts, along with emotion, aesthetics, heart and history, all the while accomplishing nods and heads-ups to other films, Inuit humour and climate change. A huge chunk for a first time filmmaker to bite off, but this documentary amply achieves this feat and rises to the challenge. Maybe it has something to do with the 7 years spent working on this project.
The underwater cinematography of the Eiders diving for food, fighting currents, struggling for life, is on par with any episode of Blue Planet. We're shown a vast swatch of their life cycle, from nest to death, from laughter to sadness.
The camera work in general lets the audience in on this beautiful place, these little known Belcher Islands in Hudson's Bay, and the time lapse photography allows us to feel the passage of time in several different activities, sometimes informative and others contemplative. The passage of time is front and centre and the various generations of humans who interact on-screen, contrasting new and old knowledge, technology, understandings, and humour, all conveyed a sensitive appreciation on the director's part of life in that region.
Depictions of historical lifestyles, the interaction between Eider and Human, were absolutely fascinating. The choice to tightly contrast various community activities in past and present was original and well executed, and created many memorable moments.
Watching this movie is simultaneously informative, meditative, and a call to action. Rarely do all these qualities come together with such zeal.
For cinephiles who enjoy documentaries, I highly recommend this wonderful work... which I should add, is not yet a completed project. The international theatre release is this week in Paris. Following this, the small crew will put together a DVD in which the special features will hold many surprises, according to the director's comments following the viewing at Whitehorse's Available Light Film Festival.
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