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In Maligutit, Kuanana returns from a caribou hunt to discover his wife and daughter kidnapped, and the rest of his family slaughtered.

3 out of 4 stars

Title
Maliglutit
Written by
Norman Cohn and Zacharias Kunuk
Directed by
Zacharias Kunuk and Natar Ungalaaq
Starring
Benjamin Kunuk, Karen Ivalu and Jonah Qunaq
Genre
Drama
Classification
G
Country
Canada
Language
Inuktitut
Year
2016

To create his new film Maliglutit, Zacharias Kunuk worked with co-director Natar Ungalaaq and co-writer Norman Cohn on a plot they borrowed from John Ford's classic western The Searchers. But they have stripped the cowboy-and-Indian story of the colonialist overtones: the only evidence of white men in this all-Inuit drama are the rifle and telescope that the hero carries with him as he seeks his wife and daughter, kidnapped by a band of outcasts looking for wives. Once again, Kunuk, who won the Caméra d'Or at Cannes for his 2001 masterpiece Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner, successfully blends an archetypal tale of revenge with an almost documentary examination of pre-modern life in the Arctic. The combination of icy landscapes, practical details about dog teams, igloo building and raw meat, and a simple tale built around love of family, is compelling. It is only in comparison with Atanarjuat that Maliglutit looks anything less than inspired: The story, script and characters are pared back to basics and the resolution feels too easy in a film that, while engrossing, lacks the mythic power of its predecessor.

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