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The Fast Runner (Atanarjuat)

4.4 out of 5 stars 106 customer reviews

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(Jan 24, 2003)
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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?

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Natar Ungalaaq, Sylvia Ivalu
  • Directors: Zacharias Kunuk
  • Producers: Zacharias Kunuk
  • Format: Multiple Formats, 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: 161 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (106 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00007L4ON
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #65,581 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Fast Runner (Atanarjuat)" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
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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Format: DVD
A murder mystery set in the far north and recorded in an Inuit language... sounds like a long shot. Sounds almost certainly boring.

In fact, this is one of the most visually striking movies I have ever watched. Many scenes are world-class, and a few are among the most remarkable ever recorded: not just the arctic scenery, which is strange and sublime, but the igloo interiors, the now-famous run accross the ice, the many lingering close-ups in which no acting is evident, the low sun seen through and off of snow... Suspend disbelief and watch this movie.

Beyond the visuals, I have to say that the acting, which achieves a very enviable transparency and un-self-conscious immediacy, drew me to these characters like no other movie since Derzu Uzala. When the screen went black at the end I felt truly disoriented, as though stepping from one universe to another. The movie is utterly transporting. Hardly a moment wasn't completely convincing. I rate this a work of true originality, creative genius, and clear vision.
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Format: DVD
"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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