Runner [1999]

The Fast Runner turns the frozen landscape of northern Canada into the stage for an adventure as sweeping as The Odyssey or Beowulf. Adapted from an Inuit legend, The Fast Runner centers on Atanarjuat, a charismatic young hunter struggling for the affections of Atuat, who has already been promised to Oki, the son of the camp's leader. When Atuat chooses Atanarjuat, Oki seems to accept it, but later events turn his anger and hatred into a murderous spite. This story, as passionate and primal as any film noir, is framed by the daily lives of the Inuit--a struggle for survival that is both simple and vivid, foreign yet immediately understandable. No one in the cast is a professional actor, but the performances are direct and compelling, telling a story that is both epic and intimate. --Bret Fetzer

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