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Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner (2001)

Atanarjuat (original title)
R | | Drama | 26 July 2002 (USA)
Trailer
2:11 | Trailer

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The telling of an Inuit legend of an evil spirit causing strife in the community and one warrior's endurance and battle of its menace.

Director:

Zacharias Kunuk

Writers:

Paul Apak Angilirq, Norman Cohn (additional writer) | 3 more credits »
26 wins & 18 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Natar Ungalaaq ... Atanarjuat
Sylvia Ivalu Sylvia Ivalu ... Atuat
Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq ... Oki
Lucy Tulugarjuk Lucy Tulugarjuk ... Puja
Madeline Ivalu Madeline Ivalu ... Panikpak
Pauloosie Qulitalik Pauloosie Qulitalik ... Qulitalik / A shaman (as Paul Qulitalik)
Eugene Ipkarnak Eugene Ipkarnak ... Sauri, the chief
Pakak Innuksuk Pakak Innuksuk ... Amaqjuaq (as Pakkak Innushuk)
Neeve Irngaut Neeve Irngaut ... Uluriaq
Abraham Ulayuruluk Abraham Ulayuruluk ... Tungajuaq
Apayata Kotierk Apayata Kotierk ... Kumaglak
Mary Qulitalik Mary Qulitalik ... Niriuniq
Luke Taqqaugaq Luke Taqqaugaq ... Pittiulak
Alex Uttak Alex Uttak ... Pakak
Eric Nutarariaq Eric Nutarariaq ... Young Sauri
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Storyline

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 <shannon@mun.ca>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for some sexuality/nudity and violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Companion website

Country:

Canada

Language:

Inuktitut

Release Date:

26 July 2002 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Fast Runner (Atanarjuat) See more »

Filming Locations:

Igloolik, Nunavut, Canada

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Box Office

Budget:

CAD 1,960,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$36,342, 9 June 2002, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,786,801, 26 January 2003
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| | | (DVD)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.78 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first Inuktitut-language feature film. See more »

Goofs

Just before Atanarjuat jumps over the crevasse, the shadow of a crew member appears in the snow, at the bottom of the screen, to the left. See more »

Quotes

Oki: What are you all looking at? Haven't you ever seen anyone kick a dog before?
See more »

Crazy Credits

The film's end credits play next to behind the scenes footage of the making of the film. Many primary cast and crew members appear at the same time that their credits come on screen. See more »

Connections

Featured in WatchMojo: Top 10 Movies by Canadian Directors (2016) See more »

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User Reviews

 
Intriguing and beautiful though drawn-out.
8 January 2003 | by taikmanSee all my reviews

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.

7/10


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