The 2001 Cannes Film Festival Caméra d’Or and Toronto International Film Festival City Award winner, Zacharias Kunuk’s landmark film Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) blends objective realism with shaman-inspired mysticism, and creates an enthralling morality tale of singular power. Evil, in the form of an unknown shaman, divides the small community of Igloolik and upsets its balance and spirit. Twenty years pass and finally two brothers emerge to challenge the evil order: Amaqjuaq, the Strong One, and Atanarjuat, the Fast Runner (Natar Ungalaaq). Atanarjuat wins the hand of the lovely Atuat (Sylvia Ivalu) away from the boastful son of the camp leader, Oki, who vows to get even. Oki (Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq) ambushes the brothers in their sleep, killing the Strong One as Fast Runner miraculously escapes, running naked over the spring sea ice. Now faced with a dilemma between his feelings of love, vengeance and his concern for the health of his community, Fast Runner must deal with the sense of loss over his brother’s death, and find the strength to go on. Igloolik elders have kept the legend of Atanarjuat alive for centuries, recounting to young Inuit the story about the dangers of setting personal desire above the needs of the group. The first feature screenplay written in the Inuktitut language, Atanarjuat’s smooth motion processing and true film resolution technology lets its audiences feel they are part of the action, witnessing first-hand the brilliant Arctic light and stark landscape of this symphonic marriage of sound and image. Atanarjuat has been a film festival hit around the world.
“An astonishing epic film.” – Roger Ebert, The Chicago Sun-Times
“Highly entertaining.” – The Globe and Mail
“Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) is a fascinating, spectacular experience. Zacharias Kunuk has delivered one of the most wonderful films of this year.” – Critical Eye