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uvanga

Marie-Hélène Cousineau, Madeline Piujuq Ivalu | 2013 | O.V. English, inuktitut | S.T. French | Quebec, Canada | 86min | color

Synopsis :

Anna (Marianne Farley) returns to Igloolik for the first time with her teenage son Tomas (Lukasi Forrest), whose father, now deceased, was a man she met while working there. As his mother tries to find her bearings in a place that inspires conflicting emotions, Tomas, introduced to his father’s family and his half-brother (Travis Kunnuk), tries to build roots. Both will grow in ways they didn’t expect. Shot on a small island in Nunavut, Uvanga (“myself” in Inuktitut) takes an unvarnished look at a people and a territory often idealized, vilified or reduced to local colour, but mostly just ignored. Avoiding both false hope and despair, the two filmmakers tell a heartwarming story from the inside out, beautifully conveyed by mostly non-professional actors. Visually arresting yet human-scaled, and never skipping over the dark side of the North (addiction, suicide), the film is as luminous as the midnight sun that gleams throughout.