The first Inuit language movie, based on an ancient legend, ATANARJUAT (THE FAST RUNNER) is the story of two generations of igloo-dwelling Inuit whose harmonious existence is disrupted by the presence of an evil spirit.
Atanarjuat (Natar Ungalaaq) falls in love with Atuat (Sylvia Ivalu) who has been promised to the chief's evil-afflicted son, Oki (Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq).
Meanwhile Oki's sexually voracious sister Puja (Lucy Tulugarjuk) desires Atanajurat for herself.
Betrayal, seduction, and bloodshed follow.
Genuinely spooky shamanistic rituals, intensely erotic moments, and an incredible chase across a melting glacier are just a few of the highlights in this debut feature of Inuit director Zacharias Kunuk.
It was filmed on location in the Arctic, with an all-Inuit cast, in and out of actual igloos lit solely by seal oil lamps.
The results are breathtaking: yellow and purple skies, vast, flat ice-covered horizons and natural performances from the actors combine to make this a one-of-a-kind viewing experience.
With equal attention paid to authenticity and narrative, ATANARJUAT emerges as both as a vital cultural document and an innovative dramatic film.
It was shot on digital video and transferred to 35mm.