Based on Inuit legend, the core of Atanarjuat's story is the troubled love affair between the title character and fellow dweller Atuat.
Filmed on digital video within the nomadic Inuit community, based around Igloolik, on a small island in the Canadian Arctic, this terrific film was winner of the Camera D'Or for Best First Feature Film at Cannes 2001 - and the remote setting proves to be its only inaccessible element. Based on an ancient Inuit legend, the core of Atanarjuat's story is the troubled love affair between the title character (Ungalaaq) and fellow dweller Atuat (Ivalu).
There are dollops of sex and violence as the drama unfolds, involving familial rivalry, bigamy, infidelity, rape, murder, regicide, shamanism, spiritual redemption and Atanarjuat bombing it bare-arse naked across a frozen sea.
Nearly three hours long, but with few dull moments, Kunuk's debut is a visually stunning, technically ambitious and culturally challenging work.