One day in the life of

Lost in translation

ABORIGINES: Tromsø International Film Festival's opening film is a minimalist but profound study of the cultural clash between Inuit and government in Canada.

Huser is a regular film critic in MODERN TIMES.
Published: 2020-01-14
One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk

Zacharias Kunuk (Canada)

The past few years have Tromsø International Film Festival opened with a Norwegian documentary, preferably with a local section - as has been the case with Egil Håskjold Larsens Where to return, Erik Poppes Per Fugelli - Latest recipe and Solveig Melkeraaens Heavy Cut Erne, which were opening films at the last three festivals.

This year, however, "TIFF" - which is being arranged for the 30th time - has made a somewhat bolder choice of opening films. A choice that is nevertheless in line with the festival's spotlight on the Arctic region and its indigenous groups.

Slow Cinema

One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk is directed by Canadian Inuit Zacharias Kunuk and can be placed within the "art film" wave called slow cinema: movies with slow and minimal storytelling, often in the form of long, unbroken recordings. A clear exponent of the direction is the Hungarian filmmaker Béla Tarr, known for Satan Tango og The Turin Horse. But, for example, the term has also been used about Apichatpong Weerasethakul's magic-realistic Onkel Boonmee som kan erindre sine tidligere liv and the portrait documentary Caniba by anthropologist / director duo Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Véréna Paravel.

Often, miscommunication is due to the deep cultural differences between
the two parties.

Zachariah Kunuk's feature film debut Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner from 2001 was the first feature film to be written, directed and recorded in its entirety in the Inuktitut language. he was rewarded with the Camera d'Or award for best debut film at the Cannes Film Festival.

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Later he made the feature film The Journals of Knud Rasmussen (2006), which, like the debut, was also shown at the Tromsø International Film Festival.

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Kunuk's latest movie One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk is based on real events from 1961. Here the dialogue takes place in both Inuktitut and English. This is an important element of the story, which is otherwise stripped down to an almost minimum.

The first sequence shows…

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