The makers of Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner focus on the historical moment when Inuit came into contact with European explorers and Christianity. Richer, deeper and more demanding than its predecessor.
Screened as part of NZIFF 2007
Set entirely within their ice-bound community, the second feature from Zacharias Kunuk and Norman Cohn (Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner) focuses on a pivotal moment in history when the Inuit first came into contact with European explorers and Christianity. In 1922, Danish anthropologist Knud Rasmussen journeys to the Canadian Arctic to record the stories and beliefs of local tribes. There he encounters Inuit leader Avva, the last great shaman (played by his actual descendant, Pakak Innukshuk), and his daughter Apak (the staggeringly lovely Leah Angutimarik) who has inherited her father's spiritual power but uses it to commune sexually with her dead husband. Told completely from the point of view of the Inuit, Kunuk and Cohn create a compelling vision of their inner life and spiritual turmoil. Perhaps more demanding than its predecessor, Journals is also a richer, deeper work of art, brilliantly illuminated by a devastating conclusion. As their cheerful worldview crumbles, the Inuit are drawn towards an unaccustomed darkness of the soul.