Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner
Time Out saysThis first feature deposits us on the Arctic tundra some time in the past, before the Southerners arrived. We're in the thick of hunting by dogsled, living in igloos and the unsettling reality of shamanism. Having initiated the notion of evil abroad in the community, the central narrative about family rivalry starts to kick in. Fleetfooted Atanarjuat has his eyes on Atuat, long promised to the boorish Oki. The situation is resolved by a bout of ritual head-punching, but lust and jealousy propel events into escalating violence. Courage, endurance and the guidance of the spirits make their contribution, all engrossingly played out in the blue-white light of endless snowscapes. Shot on digital video, the film skilfully balances the intimacy of strong emotions and the scale of the daunting surroundings. Spellbinding as storytelling, it also prompts admiration for the Inuit people's patience, resilience and their overriding concern for harmony with the world around them.