01 Apr / The Fast Runner: Filming the Legend of Atanarjuat by Michael Robert Evans [in Library Journal]
What ironic timing to discover Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, the 2001 Cannes Film Festival Caméra d’Or Award winner about two Inuit brothers – one murdered, the other who escapes by running naked over vast ice – during the 2010 Snowpocalypse. One of Canada’s top 10 grossing films, Atanarjuat marks a milestone in Canadian film history as “the first feature-length film written, directed, and produced by Inuit moviemakers.” Evans (associate dean, journalism, Indiana Univ.; Isuma: Inuit Video Art), in this first volume in the University of Nebraska Press’s new “Indigenous Films” series, posits that Atanarjuat is not only an epic story but also reclaims Inuit history, traditions, and images that have long been mired in outsiders’ stereotypical misrepresentations. Both the film and this book highlight and honor the Inuits’ ingenious ability to thrive in extreme conditions.
Verdict: Repetition mires Evans’s potentially illuminating treatise – the film summary in Chapter 5 is alluded to so many times that the reader wonders why it doesn’t open the book. Perhaps reiteration is necessary to allow academic audiences to choose pertinent chapters rather than read the whole book. Interested readers might benefit more from watching the film, which is not nearly as difficult to understand as Evans insists.