the movie is shot in inuit time, which after seeing the movie means the pace is very slow compared to standard hollywood films. the movie itself is almost three hours long. it's shot slow enough that sometimes it feels like i'm watching a documentary and learning about inuit customs by watching them go about their daily lives. and interspersed between these long scenes of documentation is where the story actually takes place. a lot has been said about the cinematography of the movie, the great white north, barren icy landscapes as far as the eyes can see. sometimes you can't even find the horizon, land and sky becoming one. what i found interesting was even in such a desolate environment, where the people who live here seem so alien on the surface, once you enter their lives and see their stories, you realize right away that the human condition is universal, and emotions such as happiness, sadness, jealousy, angry, betrayal, revenge, happens everywhere. though they seem so different from us, they are underneath it all just the same. and that's the lesson i take from this film.
the actor who plays atanarjuat, natar ungalaaq, he has such a kind and interesting face. throughout all the bad things that happen to him in the movie, he continues to go down the path of goodness. and he doesn't seem to be alone. the portrayal of the inuits in the film is that they are all good people. i suppose when you're living in such an extreme climate, people look out for one another, and don't have time for pettiness.
i love those inuit hunting goggles! first time i saw them in the movie i was taken aback, because they seem so modern and trendy, but it makes sense that they'd wear some sort of eye protection so they don't get snowblind from spending all that time surrounded by nothing but whiteness.
it was an interesting film, but it might not be for everyone. you have to be really patient with the movie, and let the inuit culture slowly seep in. i don't necessarily agree that it's the masterpiece that a lot of critics have been making this movie out to be, but it does have an uplifting message about the human spirit, whether its striving to do good in the face of evil, or our will to survive.