Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner

Let me start off by saying what a great movie this was.

It is truly amazing that this movie was created on the ridiculously low $2m production budget. No special effects, no Hollywood stars or anything, just a great movie. The reason why this movie was great is because of how unique it was. Firstly, the movie showed perhaps the most authentic representation of first nations people, that I have ever seen in terms of on film. The entire movie was in first nations dialogue, and was all shot somewhere in the eastern arctic. What really “wow’d” me the most, was the acting. At first, while I was watching the movie, I for sure knew that these were not actors, their acting seemed so legitimate that I knew for sure that they were actual first nations people. When I found out at the end of the movie, that they were actual actors, I was shocked. Especially during the scene, where the main character, Atanarjuat was running completely naked in the freezing arctic weather, I had never seen anything like that on film, EVER. It seemed so real. It is one of those scenes that you will probably never forget in your lifetime. Everyone else’s performances were terrific just as well.

The story was really basic, nothing extraordinary, but it was so entertaining because the traditional Hollywood story is done in an aboriginal setting. As I was watching the movie I could not help but notice that perhaps the director made the story so “Hollywood typical” or western typical on purpose. I believe that due to all the misrepresentations and bad associations that Hollywood put on Aboriginal people in Hollywood films, that the director in this movie wanted to return the favor. He placed common western problems in this first nations movie. Perhaps he did it to show that even Aboriginal people had the same problems as western people, or perhaps the director wanted to make fun of or show the problems that western society has today in an aboriginal setting (irony). I believe it is the later one, which was his true intention. (The problems I am talking about are, adultery, lying to family members, murder within the family to become the leader, etc., problems that you typically see in western or European culture and films) (for me this entire story seemed so similar to all the historic European empire stories, of the son killing the father to become king).


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