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The Fast Runner (Atanarjuat) (2002)

Natar Ungalaaq , Sylvia Ivalu , Zacharias Kunuk  |  R |  DVD
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)

Price: $28.17 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Product Details

  • Actors: Natar Ungalaaq, Sylvia Ivalu, Peter-Henry Arnatsiaq, Lucy Tulugarjuk, Madeline Ivalu
  • Directors: Zacharias Kunuk
  • Writers: Pauloosie Qulitalik, Zacharias Kunuk, Norman Cohn, Herve Paniaq, Paul Apak Angilirq
  • Producers: Germaine Wong, Norman Cohn
  • Format: Anamorphic, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Subtitles: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: January 24, 2003
  • Run Time: 172 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007L4ON
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,059 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Fast Runner (Atanarjuat)" on IMDb

Special Features


Editorial Reviews

Evil in the form of an unknown shaman divides a small community of nomadic Inuit, upsetting its balance and spirit. Twenty years pass. Two brothers emerge to challenge the evil order: Amaqjuaq, the Strong One, and Atanarjuat, the Fast Runner. Atanarjuat wins the hand of the lovely Atuat away from the boastful son of the camp leader, Oki, who vows to get even. Oki ambushes the brothers in their sleep, killing Amaqjuaq, as Atanarjuat miraculously escapes running naked over the spring sea ice. Butcan he ever escape the cycle of vengeance left behind?

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful and Unprecedented. February 3, 2005
I saw this movie last night and made it all the way to bedtime without words. After having a chance to sleep on it, it is now starting to sink in how truly amazing this movie is. You will be first blown away by the fact that this movie even exists. It is truly unprecedented in every sense of the word. I don't remember seeing anything like it. the only movie remotely close is "Nanook of the North", which is a huge stretch. Unlike "Nanook", this movie is shot from the Inuit perspective, by the Inuit themselves (90% of the participants in this production were full-blooded Inuit. This is a first), and the characters are not looked upon as anthropological specimens. They are real people living in a fragile existence, where any wrong move could mean sure death.

The actors are astonishing, and it must have been so terribly cold up there. You know this must have been a huge labor of love for the production team. (According to the end credits, two crewmen died making this movie) The scenery is astonishing. It is a beautiful story based on an Inuit legend that exists on many different levels and subplots, etc. All told on the frozen tundra without ANY indication given about the timeframe, or even the century, in which it was set.

I am just astonished at the painstaking attention to historical detail. I have read many books on Inuit culture, and most everything I have read was visualized in this movie, the social structure, the power of the patriarch, the constant looming of starvation, the role of the hunter/husband, the insubordination of women (pre-arranged marriages), the obsession with taboo and curses, the fine art of building igloos and staying warm in -60 temps, and yet, through all the hardships, there was so much happiness.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Spend just a little more and buy the CANADIAN version! January 21, 2004
All of the terrific reviews below underscored here, BUT:
if you're going to drop $25 for this DVD, spend about $5 USDollars more and buy the CANADIAN "deluxe" version --
it includes a second "making of" disc that adds the trailer, an account of the legend behind the story,
and several other goodies.
There are several vendors in Canada (including
that carry the two-disc set, and it's a region-1-DVD, so it will play on your US DVD player.
Highly recommended ... gorgeous film --
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You've never seen anything like it before. February 3, 2003
"Atanarjuat - The Fast Runner," the first-ever film done entirely in the Inuit language, is a three-hour-long epic, ultimately rewarding if you're willing to indulge in it. Done on digital video and filmed by actors from the native tribe near regions of the Arctic, the filmmakers capture images onscreen that were impossible to do before this technology became available. Because digital video doesn't use tape that wouldn't have survived the harsh temperatures of the region, we are able to see things like a group of Inuits on the hunt or a man running completely naked across entirely frozen regions of land. For that alone, the film is fascinating, a landmark in film history.
The story the film portrays, though, is equally as compelling, for it's a tragedy as twisty as anything Shakespeare wrote. Set in a time shortly after the Ice Age, it tells a story that has passed down as folklore.
A tribe becomes infected by evil when a curse hits them. The ruling family of the tribe is particularly corrupt. One member of the tribe, though not a great hunter himself, has two sons of promise, and, when the two grow into men, they hold the fate of the tribe in their hands.
Atanarjuat, the younger son who grows into the fastest runner and best hunter in the tribe, is the object of envy and scorn from the son of the ruling family. Atanarjuat's even in love with that son's intended bride, whom he wins after a tribal duel. Resentment grows within the ruling family as a result of this. And Puta, the daughter from the ruling family, is also in love with Atanarjuat, and she's capable of schemes and machinations.
As time passes, trouble brews, and "Atanarjuat" becomes a sort of Eskimo "Melrose Place.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Only Atanarjuat runs like that" April 25, 2004
This is one of those movies that start out really slow, but if you hang in there and make it through the first forty-five minutes, you will end up satisfied. In my opinion the creators of "The Fast Runner" use the slow pace in the movie as a reflection of the speed at which life moves in the Inuit tribe on which the story focuses.
The movie starts when a demon visits an Inuit group and curses them. At this time, Tulimag is having trouble to feed his family and already starts receiving a treatment that is not the "usual" this society gives to its members. Eskimos are known for their generosity and solidarity, but Tulimag becomes the object of ridicule and he is only given the leftovers from the food the others get. Years later, his two sons are well respected and some of the best hunters in the group. Atanarjuat and Amaqjuart have a good life and are very close to each other. Atanarjuat is in love with Atuat, but she is promised to Oki, who is willing to fight for her. In the meantime, Oki's sister, Puja, is interested in Atanarjuat. The events develop and we get to see the special rules they use in their "duels" and their customs regarding marriages. When a severe tragedy knocks on the door, the adventure picks up in pace and the interest of the audience is grabbed until the end without letting go.
Except for the painfully slow pace at the beginning, this is a highly enjoyable movie. Nevertheless, you have to be in the mood to sit down for three hours and be patient until the events turn into something really interesting. Apart from the story in this particular case, I enjoyed learning about the uses and culture of this society, about which I knew very little. The other remarkable aspect is the photography, which is absolutely stunning! Overall, I think it is a creation worth seeing, but you have to carefully pick the moment to do so.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Fast running. Long movie.
Great film give props to the native.
Published 1 day ago by J. F. Neilson
5.0 out of 5 stars Another way to enjoy Zacharias Kunuk's "Atanarjuat"
Did you know you can watch the full HD version of Atanarjuat The Fast Runner directly on the filmmaker's website? Read more
Published 16 days ago by Isuma Distribution International
5.0 out of 5 stars Not Hollywood, the best that can be said about this unusual film
This is a unique look at a culture unknown to all who live in the lower 48. This old tale of the people formerly called Eskimo is truly magic in all meanings of the word.
Published 1 month ago by Steven R. Urquhart
5.0 out of 5 stars I love it
great movie
Published 3 months ago by Glenn Louis Syktich
5.0 out of 5 stars Fast Runner
Arrived earlier than expected. The film is very well done. While some might think this film is too erotic, I did not agree.
Published 3 months ago by Lela A Llorens
5.0 out of 5 stars Cultural Phenom
A view of their world that's timeless and a good story too. I highly recommend it masterful in it's unique way.
Published 5 months ago by C. R.
5.0 out of 5 stars So natural, surreal, sublime and relate-able
Transported me. For me, a very different culture, environment, lifestyle, but the story touched home. I could feel it! Read more
Published 8 months ago by SarahNP
5.0 out of 5 stars Hollywood needs to take lessons from the Canadians
All subtitles and at times hard to follow the plot - it didn't exactly follow the plots given in the other material provided
Published 11 months ago by George R. Mead
5.0 out of 5 stars survival in the farthest North
This is an excellent movie about the people who occupy some of the remotest wilderness in the climate of the far North. For a low budget production it is remarkably well presented. Read more
Published 13 months ago by michael bossons
5.0 out of 5 stars Must watch
I enjoyed this film. It was exciting, profoundly interesting and spiritually insightful. I was reminded of growing up in Ontario, cold winters, going north to winter camps, the... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Lisa Atkinson
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