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Out in the cold: the struggle of Inuit film

by Guy Dixon.

There’s a point in the 1944 short film Eskimo Summer that will irk contemporary viewers.

The officious British narrator of the National Film Board of Canada educational film describes the population of aboriginal Northern Canadians as being the same as “a small English town.”

It’s a ridiculous comparison and not the only anachronistic scene in some of the older films in Unikkausivut: Sharing Our Stories, a two-volume box set of some of the NFB’s landmark films about the North.

The collection traces the arc of filmmaking in the North, from the anthropological and often patronizing films of the 1940s to the current work of Inuit filmmakers. Thanks to self-government in the 1990s and funding made available with the creation of Nunavut, those actually making the films now tend to be Northerners, documenting their lives as others can’t.

The increased government attention and funding has produced results, most notably in the films of Zacharias Kunuk, whose celebrated 2001 drama Atanarjuat (The Fast Runner) won multiple awards, including the Camera d’or at Cannes.

Read the rest of this article from Globe and Mail.

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