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Films >> Fast Runner, The (Atanarjuat) (2001) >>

Before Tomorrow (2009)
"Before Tomorrow is set in 1840 at the perilous moment when white explorers with their strange customs and implements began encroaching on the far north territory occupied by Inuit tribes that had little or no contact with the outside world. This visually transfixing movie is the third in a trilogy that began with the ancient Inuit folk tale The Fast Runner (Atanarjuat) and continued with The Journals of Knud Rasmussen" set in the early 1920s. . . . The movie is a product of Arnait Video Productions, the Women's Video Workshop of Igloolik. It is the only film in this series to focus on women's roles as storytellers and repositories of folk wisdom; its perspective might be described as Inuit feminist. . . . Where "The Fast Runner, the most powerful film of the trilogy, told a tough tale of dissension within a tribe, Before Tomorrow succumbs to ethnographic sentimentality in its idyllic depiction of the same world threatened by evil from outside. It tells the story of Ningiuq (Ms. Piujuq Ivalu), a wise old woman, who, with her lifetime friend Kutuujuk (Mary Qulitalik) and 10-year-old grandson, Maniq (Paul-Dylan Ivalu), is transported by kayak to a remote island to spend the final weeks of a bountiful summer drying salmon and caribou meat for the coming winter. . . . Thus begins the struggle of an increasingly fragile woman and a boy on the verge of adolescence to survive the frigid desolation of an Arctic winter. . . . It is not finally a survival tale but a mystical evocation of the power of Inuit mythology, and how the passing down of ancient wisdom can sustain the human spirit in the direst circumstances." (New York Times)
The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (2006)
The Isuma Productions "follow-up" to Atanarjuat, a story this time about cultural contact, an issue absent from Atanarjuat. Isuma calls Journals "the first film to visualize the Christianization of indigenous people from their own point of view." One review describes the film this way: "This time their [Kunuk and Cohn] focus is on a pivotal moment in Inuit history when the people first encountered European explorers and Christianity. Around 1922 the Danish explorer and anthropologist Knud Rasmussen journeyed to the Canadian Arctic to record the stories and beliefs of the local tribes, and this quest forms a springboard from which their stories are told within this film."
Nanook of the North (1922)
The classic film, widely referred to as the beginning of the documentary genre but now often criticized for its stereotyping, that exhibits the harsh life of one Eskimo family. For years and years, this film was virtually totally responsible for our culture's image of the Inuit. It is specifically referenced negatively by the Inuit filmmakers. Contains such memorable images as the kayak as "clown car" disgorging person after person and Nanook encountering the phonograph machine and biting a record.
The Savage Innocents (1960)
More recent than Nanook but just as problematic as a representation of the Inuit and actually mentioned by the makers of Atanarjuat as a film that made them recoil. Anthony Quinn's Inuk is more than slightly daffy; everyone, especially the women, giggle too much; fairly revolting eating and dancing predominate early; vaguely oriental music feels out of place; gender relationships and rituals are often buffoonish; Inuk's first contact with a rifle replaces Nanook's with a phonograph; his shock that his new-born baby has no teeth is ludicrous. Visiting a trading post for the first time introduces Inuk to a white man, the white man's music, dancing, liquor, and a missionary -- whom he accidentally kills because he refuses the friendly offer to "laugh" with his wife according to Eskimo custom. He has broken white man's law, however, and the troopers track him down. Faced with escaping and saving himself or saving a trooper's life and enduring a murder charge, however, Inuk acts unselfishly. That creates a moral dilemma for the trooper that Inuk's wife clears up when she tells him that the white men should bring their wives not their laws to a "strange land."

See Also

Apocalypto (2006)

Dances with Wolves (1990)

Dogville (2003)

Eskimo (1934)

1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)

Gangs of New York (2002)

Igloo (1932)

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Macbeth (1948)

Skins (2002)

Smoke Signals (1998)

The White Dawn (1975)