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Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner [Import]

Natar Ungalaaq , Sylvia Ivalu , Zacharias Kunuk    R (Restricted)   DVD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
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Product Description


It's a story as old as humanity--one of love, jealousy, and betrayal, both within a family and between two families--but the setting, a starkly beautiful Arctic landscape, is not typical. The Fast Runner tells a ponderous tale of two brothers, Atanarjuat and Amaqjuaq, and their spiteful rival, Oki, who conspires to kill them when Atanarjuat wins the affections of Oki's promised wife, Atuat. Nearly three hours long, the film plays out like an ancient legend told to younger generations in warning. It's infused with a mysticism in which spirits cause the wicked actions of otherwise decent people.

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

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The beauty of this movie lies in its unique style that pulls viewers up close with the people and the action, allowing us to catch a glimpse of rich Inuit culture and their harsh yet life-sustaining beautiful homeland through seasons. The material culture was meticulously researched and presented as beautiful clothing, ice architecture, and other personal belongings, which are sometimes given hidden meanings for "the Southern" viewers. Maybe our storyteller Zacharias Kunuk intentionally made them more eloquent than the spoken narrative, which is curiously kept minimal. When I first saw it I was often confused about what is happening until I learned more about the legend much later.
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 [...] 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 [...]
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film experience April 24 2004
By A Customer
What made this story so great was its span over generations, showing many ways in which people conspire against eachother, and the many ways people respond to others' conspiracies.
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You have never seen anything like it Feb. 6 2004
By A Customer
Watching this movie is a bit like, if you can imagine this, watching a TV movie made by an ancient bronze-age television network. In other words, it's TV, and the plot is pretty straightforward ... but it's prehistoric TV! The actors are eskimos plucked right off the ice. We've never lived this way, and we're thrown into a television that's impossibly foreign. The texture of their lives comes through in this movie like a shockwave. Well-filmed and acted, but not in the normal sense. It's strikingly real, in a way I feel is barely understood any more.
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.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
All of the terrific reviews below underscored here, BUT:
if you're going to drop $25 for this DVD, spend about $5 USDollars more and buy the CANADIAN "deluxe" version --
it includes a second "making of" disc that adds the trailer, an account of the legend behind the story,
and several other goodies.
There are several vendors in Canada (including www.Amazon.ca)
that carry the two-disc set, and it's a region-1-DVD, so it will play on your US DVD player.
Highly recommended ... gorgeous film --
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Watching Fast Runner, I felt like a quiet member of the Inuit family sitting around a fire hearing this story and my imagination saw this film. This is masterful storytelling. The end credits document how much the filmmakers (actors and production people) wanted to bring this story to us in a medium we could understand. I was very cynical about my ability to like a movie this long in such a language. After 3 hours, I felt at home, covered in seal skins and my belly full of seal meat. My curiosity about what I didnÕt grasp has me researching this film and story. It is not for everybody, but, for the movie viewer who loves to seek truth from every culture and find another link in that human experience, 3 hours will almost seem too short. I donÕt know how well I would survive that north in Canada, but I have a vague idea how to survive because of this film. I will never complain about rolling blackouts again. What a hard life even if it has access to more modern amenities! To everyone involved in Fast Runner, THANK YOU!!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a great movie!!! Oct. 29 2003
By Fizzle
This movie is very good and very very realistic. You won`t even remember that there were subtitles. The people in it are Eskimos this is not a karate film. The wife is very beautiful and it is very interesting to see a different life stlye and not see any movie stars.
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3.0 out of 5 stars The fourth of a serial Jan. 15 2014
Format:DVD|Verified Purchase
Brilliantly made, Inuit films, shot entirely in northern Canada. It's a great story, if you can follow the subtitles. The entire script was in the Inuit language and at times, was difficult to follow. This particular movie won best foreign film at several film festivals including Toronto, Sun-dance and I believe Paris.
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Most recent customer reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars its okay
Its and alright film, has some inuit folklore which is good, and it shows some inuit woman breasts as well
Published 14 months ago by Joshua Davidson
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
A Canadian classic, saw the movie on the big screen, I wanted to share it with a friend in France. It should be in everyone's library.
Published 17 months ago by rocks'n'oses
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast Runner
A rare and brilliant movie of life among the Arctic Native peoples. A must for High Schools.
Published on Oct. 17 2009 by F. W. Thornton
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful
Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner This is a very thoughtful and understated film. There are no big explosions or other things that are in almost all films today. Read more
Published on June 2 2009 by Isabelle Sibley
4.0 out of 5 stars good
this movie was kind of slow paced, but once you kind of set yourself to that pace, it was pretty good. Read more
Published on Sept. 19 2008 by elfdart
5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific film
This is a fantastic film. It is a little slow at the beginning, but that reflects the nature of the far north; having lived and travelled in the Western Arctic, I can attest to... Read more
Published on Feb. 10 2006 by J. Tupone
5.0 out of 5 stars Simple yet beautiful
This film is of a quality that normally eludes Canadian film-making, combining mythical elements of Inuit culture with the harsh reality of life in the Arctic. Read more
Published on May 18 2005
5.0 out of 5 stars Great film, though not enough extras on DVD
Though the film starts off quite a bit slow, and may be a bit too long and 'boring' for many, it ends with finally getting a little more attention and as well as understanding what... Read more
Published on Aug. 29 2004 by Anthony Chiu
2.0 out of 5 stars not a must see
I am a bit confused as to why this movie has won so many awards and gotten all this great press. Is it because its a peek into the world of the Inuit? Read more
Published on June 21 2004
5.0 out of 5 stars MOVIE AROUND THE FIRE
What have I gotten myself into? I'm watching valiant but impossible acting, undoubtedly by some amateurs, in a movie about modern tribal people in the Arctic Circle that is ... Read more
Published on June 2 2004 by Guy De Federicis
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