And now, to add an extra perspective on this movie, is a 30 year veteran of the US Public Health Service (Indian Health Service), an expert on Native American cultures, a 20 year veteran of traveling in the Alaska Arctic and working with Alaska Inuits, Inupiats and Aleuts, and my dad, CAPT Stephen P. Wiener (Ret.):
Hello faithful readers of Jason Watches Movies. And a special thank you to Jason for sharing a little bit of Cinequest with his parents on their 2 month adventure in Hawaii. I also was moved by the power of this film. I could see why it made the short list for foreign language picture...but also why it didn't make the final cut. To me, it was a bit ponderous and slow in places. Although Jason correctly intimated that the slow pace helped to emphasize Tivii's isolation, it also served to somewhat derail the pace of the film. That said, I found the cinematography to be exceptional, especially the scenes in the Canadian Arctic. It may sound trite, but as one who has traveled extensively in the Alaskan Arctic, I found the depiction to not only be accurate, but also to capture the vastness, seeming sterility and the unbelievable beauty of the far north. One of the reasons that Tivii loses his will to survive is that he is worried that there will be no one to provide food for his family. But in my experiences in bush Alaska, there is such a sense of community and a realization that survival is so delicate, so that Tivii's worry should not have been “how will his family get the food they need,” but rather, “what will be the effect on the community of having to supply food for three additional people.” For in my experience the family would have been taken of, even to the detriment of the survival of the community. I found myself preoccupied with this question as I watched Tivii's transformation. But in the end, the movie was both satisfying and heartwarming.