- Canadian Essential: Chosen by the Amazon.ca editors as one of the 50 Canadian Essentials in DVD.
Atanarjuat: Fast Runner
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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 [...]
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.
It's a great movie and I would recommend it to anyone. It's a nice change from the usual big-budget films most of us watch regularly.
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.
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 --
The movie starts when a demon visits an Inuit group and curses them. At this time, Tulimag is having trouble to feed his family and already starts receiving a treatment that is not the "usual" this society gives to its members. Eskimos are known for their generosity and solidarity, but Tulimag becomes the object of ridicule and he is only given the leftovers from the food the others get. Years later, his two sons are well respected and some of the best hunters in the group. Atanarjuat and Amaqjuart have a good life and are very close to each other. Atanarjuat is in love with Atuat, but she is promised to Oki, who is willing to fight for her. In the meantime, Oki's sister, Puja, is interested in Atanarjuat. The events develop and we get to see the special rules they use in their "duels" and their customs regarding marriages. When a severe tragedy knocks on the door, the adventure picks up in pace and the interest of the audience is grabbed until the end without letting go.
Except for the painfully slow pace at the beginning, this is a highly enjoyable movie. Nevertheless, you have to be in the mood to sit down for three hours and be patient until the events turn into something really interesting. Apart from the story in this particular case, I enjoyed learning about the uses and culture of this society, about which I knew very little. The other remarkable aspect is the photography, which is absolutely stunning! Overall, I think it is a creation worth seeing, but you have to carefully pick the moment to do so.
Most recent customer reviews
This is an awesome movie. Although it has subtitles, the movie is so intriguing you will not notice. It is both educational and has a great storyline. Highly recommended.Published 6 months ago by Barbara E Evett
An exiting movie. The true north strong and free is beautiful.
The movie will keep you at the edge of your chair, you won't
Its and alright film, has some inuit folklore which is good, and it shows some inuit woman breasts as wellPublished on June 5 2013 by Joshua Davidson
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 on Feb. 9 2013 by rocks'n'oses
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
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 morePublished on June 2 2009 by Isabelle Sibley
this movie was kind of slow paced, but once you kind of set yourself to that pace, it was pretty good. Read morePublished on Sept. 19 2008 by elfdart