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Atanarjuat, The Fast Runner

Canada 2001. Dir: Zacharias Kunuk (Inuit). 170 min. Blu-ray Disc

Zacharias Kunuk’s spellbinding epic, the first-ever feature in the Inuktitut language, was voted one of Canada’s All-Time Top Ten films in 2004 and 2015 polls conducted by the Toronto International Film Festival. In 2015, it ranked first — “likely the first time that a film by an indigenous filmmaker has topped a poll of national cinema” (Steve Gravestock, TIFF). Based on a centuries-old Inuit legend, Atanarjuat transports us to an utterly convincing, meticulously recreated pre-Colombian Inuit world, and enthrals us with a mythic, magical tale of love, jealousy, family rivalry, and revenge. The film’s many laurels include the Camera d’Or for best first feature at Cannes — the first (and, to date, only) Canadian film to be so honoured — and the Genie Award for best picture. A memorable and timeless milestone.


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