Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner
The Fast Runner
starring Natar Ungalaaq, Sylvia Ivalu, Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq, Lucy Tulugarjuk
screenplay by Paul Apak Angilirq
directed by Zacharias Kunuk
by Walter Chaw Zacharias Kunuk's Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner), the first motion picture presented entirely in the Inuit language Inutkikuk, is what it means to be transported by the cinema: taken to another place and another time on the flickering wings of film's lunar art. It is the realization of the full possibility of the movies to present the alien as familiar while providing a vital anthropological connection through the naturalism and glorious universality of its characters and story. An Inuit legend passed through centuries of oral tradition that demonstrates a very particular peculiarity of world mythology, Atanarjuat, seen one way, is a classic banning fable--thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's wife and possessions, thou shalt not murder. Jung spoke of a common well of images and signifiers from which we draw our stories and Atanarjuat, unfolding on a cold-blasted primeval arctic plain, has the quality of totem.