One Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk

February 12, 2020

For decades Zacharias Kunuk has been one of the most exciting, dynamic, and innovative filmmakers in Canada. His movies ( Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner and Maliglatit ) combine myth, history, and folklore, elements that are present in this movie.

Day in the Life of Noah Piugattuk, re-acts an actual 1961 encounter on spring sea ice between the title character, along with other community leaders, and a government agent who has come to ask them to relocate their families to permanent settlements and send their children to school. As the “interview” unfolds we see the agent’s paternalism clashing with Noah’s pride and common sense with the situation capturing the tensions between Inuit and the government that exist to this day.

Filmed on Baffin Island in a documentary-like style, we watch as a fellow Inuit translator tries in his choice of words to soften the harsh words that are spoken over the course of an hour. The real Noah Piugattuk was born in 1900, lived to be 96 years of age, and is the last Inuit to abandon a traditional, semi-nomadic life. In that time he saw the decline of traditional practices that had persisted for thousands of years and the creation of a new relationship with the Canadian colonial state. In this one day - and this fateful meeting - Kunuk condenses much about Inuit-settler relations. The emotional and historical layers in the film make it one of his finest works.

“The real-time effect…is compelling as its languor and its repetitions gradually reveal the deep cultural misunderstanding that is going on.” Kate Taylor, The Globe and Mail

Canada
Inuktitut/English with English subtitles
Rated: Not Rated
112 minutes
4 - 5:52 & 7 - 8:52

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