We have seen a number of interesting films at International Film Night this year. Atanarjuat is a Canadian film. It is filmed entirely in Inuktitat, the language of the Eastern Canadian Inuit, was made in 2001, and is directed by Zacharias Kunuk. It was the first indigenous Inuit film to be produced.

It retells an Inuit legend about two brothers, Amaqjuaq, the strong one, and Atanarjuat, the fast one. At the beginning of the film they are infants. In the opening scenes, at a gathering of the clan, in the presence of a baleful shaman, Kumaglak the clan leader dies and Sauri his son is appointed the new leader. The clear implication is that Sauri has plotted his father’s murder and Tulimaq, the infant’s father, is now under threat, as is Qulitalik, the brother of Kumaglik’s wife Panikpak, who flees the clan

The film then picks them up as young men. Atarnajuat is now a rival of Oki, the son of Sauri, in a duel for Atuat, who was betrothed to Oki as a child. Atarnajuat wins the fight, a formalised contest where they alternately punch each other on the head. Though now married to Atuat, on a hunting trip Atarnajuat stops by Sauri’s camp, where he is persuaded to allow Puja, Oki’s sister, to join him on the trip. Atarnajuat is seduced by Puja thereby acquiring a second wife.