- Canadian Essential: Chosen by the Amazon.ca editors as one of the 50 Canadian Essentials in DVD.
The actors, all Native people speaking Inuktitut (with subtitles), bring a necessary subtlety to their roles that makes The Fast Runner feel more like a documentary than a typical feature film. It's easy to get lost in the drama of this snowy world, where dog sleds are the only transportation and meat is eaten raw, cut straight from the bone. The film's slow pace mirrors the pace of life in such harsh conditions, but the energy of its epic story, spanning three generations and affecting the lives of everyone in the group, is deeply compelling. --Adem Tepedelen
I recommend the "Deluxe" DVD set available from www.amazon.ca, which comes with special features including the original legend, the production diary, cast bios, and family trees of Atanarjuat and Oki. You can get the same information from www.atanarjuat.com. Those materials are very helpful to appreciate the movie.
People of Nunavut is fortunate to be blessed with Zacharias Kunuk, a great filmmaker and visionary. I was lucky to be in Canada last summer when I caught three episodes of "Nunavut (Our Land)" on Bravo!, produced by Igloolik Isuma Production in 1995, which tells tales of an Inuit community in 1940s with a style similar to Atanarjuat. I am totally fascinated by the works of Isuma. To learn more about them, visit www.isuma.ca.
I did have to rewind a little to make sure I knew who was who in the big scheme of things, and make sure I understood what was going on, but overall, this film is easy to digest for anyone with some intelligence and curiosity.
Aside from the power of the story itself, the sensual experience of watching the film was totally novel, it being set in Igloolik 1000 years ago. The cast did a great job.
The crazy thing is -- why aren't there more movies from the bronze age? A thousand aboriginal stories disappear everyday -- and we have -one- movie like this? All the other movies are about white people meeting aboriginal culture, and the disappearance of their way of life, etc. But Atanarjuat comes straight from the beating heart of a lifestyle that goes back to our origins. That's why it gets 5 stars from me ... This isn't a movie. It's a piece of who we are.