Inspired by the John Ford film The Searchers, an Inuit woman and her daughter are kidnapped by three Inuit men, while her husband and son are away. The Inuit husband sets out on a journey to find his family and punish the perpetrators.
Young Indian man Thomas is a nerd in his reservation, wearing oversize glasses and telling everyone stories no-one wants to hear. His parents died in a fire in 1976, and Thomas was saved by... See full summary »
Centuries ago, in what would become the Canadian Arctic, Atuat is promised to the malevolent Oki, son of the leader of their tribe. But Atuat loves the good-natured Atanarjuat, who ultimately finds a way to marry her. Oki's sister, Puja also fancies Atanarjuat, and when she causes strife between him and his brother Amaqjuaq, Oki seizes the opportunity to wreak a terrible revenge on Atanarjuat.Written by
Shannon Patrick Sullivan <firstname.lastname@example.org>
A man runs naked across a plain of ice and snow, his feet bloody and his eyes desperate as he glances back at his hunters. When he falls, even having just come in from the sweltering summer heat, you feel the cold.
This is the best scene in Atanarjuat, the Fast Runner', a movie very different from any other you will have seen. What makes it so special is that it is about and made entirely by the Inuit of Canada. It immerses you in the harsh, nearly desolate world of a tiny Arctic community.
In such a small group, where a few families live in confined spaces, tensions can be explosive. The story is centered around the rivalry of Atanarjuat and Oki over Atuat, a rivalry which echoes that of their fathers, Tulimaq or Sauri, for leadership of the tribe. In the prologue to the main story we see Sauri assassinate his father with the aid of an evil spirit who continues to haunt the tribe. The struggles of the families of Tulimaq and Sauri lead to a betrayal and a murder that sends the naked man running across the ice.
It is a good story, though it is long, slow and sometimes hard to follow. What makes it so memorable is the remarkable lifestyle that it makes seem so real. From dogsleds and ritual combat to seduction and exorcism, we see many of the facets of pre-modern Inuit life, which was built entirely on just two things: water and the flesh and bones of Arctic animals. The acting is completely convincing, the music is sparingly but powerfully used and the cinematography captures both the beauty and cruelty of that vast wilderness in the north of the world. It is something far from the conventions of Hollywood and if you have the patience, you will find it fascinating.
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