Tuesday, July 02, 2002

The Fast Runner (Atanarjuat) (IMDB) (Netflix)
The professional reviews are almost universally glowing, friends liked it, and some French people gushed afterwards "I cannaught believe dat it wos almost tree hours longue--de time flew like a leetle sparrow" but put me down for "pending further review." I missed the crucial first minutes, couldn't clearly distinguish the male characters (Sara--sorry to disappoint), and was distracted by the constant clicking of some audience member's artificial heart (one assumes), so getting through this first-ever Inuit language film was a struggle and I'll need a replay to give it a fair shake.

It's filmed on location in the Arctic with a mostly amateur Inuit cast, and tells the tale of a tribe beset by more intrigue and shenanigans than Peyton Place, putting the lie to the romantic canard that those simple folks live in unfettered peace and harmony. The acting is what you'd expect, but the photography is pretty impressive in a documentary sortof way, plus you get to see a naked guy running on snow and ice for an impressively long time and some cool Inuit-style sunglasses made of animal bone (Oakley: take note). Very much in the tradition of Himalya: L'enfance d'un Chef.