Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Atanarjuat the Fast Runner (2001) R - 2 Stars

I was hoping this movie would do more for me than I got out of it. Taking place long ago, it tells the story of the culture and traditions of the native Inuit tribe of Northern Canada. It is the first movie ever made to be in the native language Inuktitut, with English subtitles. Shot in a documentary type style, the movie is based on the notes of Captain William Edward Parry, a British explorer who visited the area in 1822. I became bored with the movie quite quickly and while there are some beautiful scenes as well as funny parts too, I am just not sure what the point of the movie is. There are some pretty over the top rituals that must be preformed between the two men that can really mess up your head - literally.

Atanarjuat (Natar Ungalaq), desires the hand of Atuat (Sylvia Ivalu) but she has already been promised to Oki (Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq) who just happens to be the son of the chief. In a slap happy ritual, Atanarjuat and Oki due battle in front of all tribal members inside of their igloo. Atanarjuat's older brother Amaqjuaq (Pakkak Innukshuk) watches his younger brother achieve victory and take the hand of Atuat.

As Atuat becomes pregnant with their first child, Puja (Lucy Tulugarjuk), Oki's sister, puts the move on Atanarjuat and seduces him away from Atuat. Oki himself, still has revenge on his mind and sneaks up on the brothers in their sleep killing Amaqjuaq as Atanrjuat is able to run away, running naked across the thing layer of ice covering the sea. While I have appreciation for anyone who could live in the hostel environment these people are accustomed to, I didn't get a lot out of the movie.

Awards include:
2001 - Atanarjuat the Fast Runner - Cannes Film Festival - Camera d'Or
2001 - Atanarjuat the Fast Runner - Genie Awards - Best Director

Igloolik Isuma Productions - National Film Board of Canada
Director: Zacharias Kunuk
Writer: Paul Apak Angilirq
Producer: Zacharias Kunuk
I viewed 10/08

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