172 minutes – Drama Release date: April 12, 2002 DVD Release date: November 19, 2002 Canadian distributor: Odeon Films
This film, the first feature-length Inuit-speaking drama ever made, tells the story of two brothers – Atanarjuat (Ungalaaq) and Amaqjuaq (Innukshuk) – who provoke Okai (Arnatsiaq), an ill-tempered husband-to-be of the beautiful Ataut (Ivalu). When Atuat decides to marry Atanarjuat instead, it sets in motion a chain of events that eventually leads to betrayal and murder. Despite being shot on digital video, Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) is epic – even Shakespearean – in scope, culminating in an astounding twenty-minute sequence as Atanarjuat races naked across melting ice flows, pursued by the murderous Okai. An authentic recreation by Zacharias Kunuk of an oral tale told over thousands of years, the film demystifies the exotic, otherworldly Aboriginal stereotype by telling a powerful, universal story. It was given Genie Awards for Picture, Director, Screenplay, Editing, and Musical Score. It also won the Claude Jutra Award for first-time feature directors, and won a Caméra D’Or at Cannes. Northernstars.ca chose Atanarjuat as one of its Top 10 Canadian Films of the Decade in December 2009.
Also see: From The Edge of the Earth – an article from our Take One archives. Production still and poster courtesy of Odeon Films.
Atanarjuat Atuat, wife of Atanarjuat Oki Puja Panikpak Qulitalik / A shaman Sauri, the chief Amaqjuaq Uluriaq Tungajuaq Kumaglak Niriuniq Pittiulak Pakak Young Sauri Young Tulimaq Young Pittaluk Young Panikpak Young Qulitalik Sauri`s wife Young Sauri`s wife Young Qulitalik`s wife Sigluk Asa Uttuqiaq Saku Tulimaq Pittaluk Oki`s wife Pittiulak`s wife Young Sigluk Young Sigluk`s wife Young Uttuqiaq Young Uttuqiaq`s wife Qillaq Elder lady Elder lady Child Kigutikaajuk Child Kumaglak Child Amaqjuat Child Oki Baby Atanarjuat Child Child Child Child Child Child Child