Maliglutit (Searchers)

In John Ford’s 1956 classic western The searchers, John Wayne plays a Civil war veteran trying to find his niece who was abducted by Comanche Indians. In Zacharias Kunuk and Natar Ungalaaq’s Maliglutit, the action has shifted from 1868 to 1913 in the Northern Canadian territory now known as Nunavut. It was filmed near the small community of Igloolik, with the cast of non-professional actors having to work in -48 °C, many of them suffering from frostbite as a result. The story starts in Kuanana’s igloo. Kuanana (Benjamin Kunuk) has invited Aulla (Jonah Qunaq) and his small band of thugs to his home. But Aulla is drunk and shamelessly flirts with Kuanana’s wife, Ailla (Jocelyne Immaroitok) and his daughter, Tagaq (Karen Ivalu). So he is asked to leave. The next day, while Kuanana and his oldest son are away from home, Aulla comes back to abduct the two women to use them for their sexual pleasures. Upon coming back, Kuanana finds that the rest of the family have been killed. He and his son go on a search to find the killers, avenge the dead and bring back the abducted women. Maliglutit is the latest of a series of films in Inuktitut produced by First Nation artists in Nunavut. The first film directed in 2001 by Zacharias Kunuk was Atanarjuat: The fast runner . Despite a slow beginning and an unsurprising outcome, Maliglutit is very exciting to watch. Zacharias Kunuk was a fan of John Wayne and this film is an homage of sorts to westerns. It is spectacularly shot by cinematographer Jonathan Frantz. An inspired score by Tanya Tagaq and Chris Crilly uses throat singing, electric guitars and an harmonica. The theme is definitely John Ford, but the music is more Ennio Morricone than Max Steiner.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

Maliglutit (Searchers)

 

Directed by:
Zacharias Kunuk
Natar Ungalaaq

Screenplay by:
Norman Cohn
Zacharias Kunuk
Inspired by John Ford’s film The searchers

Starring:
Benjamin Kunuk
Karen Ivalu
Jonah Qunaq
Joey Sarpinek
Jocelyne Immaroitok
Joseph Uttak

95 min.

Rated 14A

In Inuktitut with English subtitles.

Advertisements

Uvanga

In 2009 I saw Inuit filmmakers Marie-Hélène Cousineau and Madeline Piujuq Ivalu’s beautiful film Before tomorrow. Uvanga is their new feature film. It takes place in Igloolik, Nunavut. Anna, a white women from Montréal, and her 14-year old son Tomas, arrive to visit his late father’s parents. Anna left Igloolik after she got pregnant. Tomas also meets his half-brother Travis. At first Tomas is unhappy to be there, and wonders why they came to such a remote, boring place. Not everyone is pleased by Anna’s visit. Sheba, Travis’ mom, is clearly angry that her late husband’s mistress is back. Tomas and Travis get along very well, and Tomas goes seal hunting, and skin the seal with his brother and his uncle. The boys will also find out how their dad died. Lukasi Forrest as Tomas, and Travis Kunnuk as Travis are the heart of Uvanga. Throughout the film they quietly show us the growing affection between the two brothers. No words are necessary. The beautiful Arctic landscapes are worth the price of the ticket. It is breathtaking. Uvanga is a rare look at a modern-day Inuit community.

Rémi-Serge Gratton

 

Uvanga

 

Directed by: 
Marie-Hélène Cousineau
Madeline Piujuq Ivalu
 
Screenplay by: 
Marie-Hélène Cousineau
 
Starring: 
Marianne Fairley
Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq
Lukasi Forrest
Madeline Piujuq Ivalu
Paka Innuksuk
Carol Kunnuk
Travis Kunnuk
 
88 min.
 
Rated 14A
 
In English and Inuktitut with English subtitles